Candy won’t build strong bodies, but the packaging can help nourish minds.
For the third year, the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State is collecting candy wrappers for charity through Terracycle, a New Jersey-based company that recycles and reuses waste material to make green products. TerraCycle’s Candy Wrapper Brigade program will give the center points toward funds for each wrapper collected during the 2013-14 school year.
So far, the center has collected more than 6,000 wrappers to benefit Covenant House, a nonprofit organization that runs a network of homeless shelters in the Americas. Each wrapper helps the center meet its goal of providing 100 homeless or at-risk children with a year’s worth of school supplies.
With its good start, the center remains on track to top the 10,000 wrappers collected in 2012-13 by the time the campaign concludes at the end of the spring semester.
But the center’s not about to wrap up its pitches to the community.
“We also like to get the word out around Halloween time because it seems there’s a lot of people not only handing out candy, but also having candy in their homes,” said Laura Sullivan, director of marketing and communications for the center. “So there’s a lot of wrappers to bring in.”
In 2011-12, the collection effort yielded 6,400 wrappers and clean drinking water for a year for 43 people in developing countries. The next school year, the collected wrappers translated into 415 meals for Americans in need.
“Every year it keeps getting bigger because the word keeps spreading,” Sullivan said.
One of last year’s highlights came when St. Marys Area Middle School students gave more than 23 pounds of wrappers. Peg Lucas, the center’s marketing information coordinator and a member of its green team, may have more big donors waiting in the wings.
“I’ve had a couple of regular (arts) patrons call me and ask if they were able to bring wrappers in because they collected a whole bunch of them,” Lucas said. “I always encourage them to bring it all in.”
Located on Shortlidge Road on campus, Eisenhower Auditorium maintains lobby collection boxes for patrons. Individual wrappers and multi-pack bags also may be dropped off at the auditorium from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and at the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Penn State employees can send wrappers via campus mail to Pam Aikey, Eisenhower Auditorium, or Shannon Bishop, Penn State Downtown Theatre Center.
“It’s kind of like a snowball rolling downhill: Once we start it, we can’t stop it,” Sullivan said. “The wrappers keep coming. People don’t stop eating candy.”
Chris Rosenblum can be reached at 231-4620. Follow him on Twitter@CRosenblumNews.