UNIVERSITY PARK — A candy bar this season at Penn States Center for the Performing Arts might do more than satisfy a hungry patron.
It could help feed a family. The center hopes to collect 5,000 candy wrappers from this month until April and convert them into funding for 200 meals through two national organizations.
TerraCycle gathers refuse for upcycling, the making of new products from normally unrecycled material. Its Candy Wrapper Brigade program will award the center two points for each wrapper.
In the end, the center will redeem its points toward buying food for meals provided by Feeding America, a charity that works with a nationwide network of food banks.
Its the second time the center has focused on turning trash into aid. Last year it collected 6,400 wrappers to give clean drinking water for a year to 43 people in developing countries.
Peg Lucas, with the centers Green Team, said the idea of recycling wrappers arose from sustain-ability meetings with other Penn State teams working to make the university more environmentally friendly.
Her fellow team members noted the centers concession stand sells lots of candy and creates much waste.
In order to keep those candy wrappers out of the normal trash, we decided we would go and try something like this, said Lucas, a marketing information coordinator.
In the Eisenhower Auditorium lobby, the center will keep three collection boxes for wrappers from concession sales and outside use. Wrappers, larger bags and multi-pack bags also may be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center on Allen Street.
Lucas said 5,000 wrappers by themselves would yield $250 from TerraCycle. By linking to Feeding America, which was chosen over local food banks because drive supporters likely will live in different counties, the center can do more good than with a per-wrapper sum, Lucas said.
We felt it was a bigger impact, she said.
Once again, Lucas is looking forward to helping people and the Earth at the same time.
I just want to see the world become a better place for our future generations, she said.
For more information on the candy wrapper fundraiser, call Peg Lucas at 865-1872 or visit www.terracycle.net
Chris Rosenblum can be reached at 231-4620. Follow him on Twitter @CRosenblumNews