Potato chip maker comes to troops’ aid

MIDDLEBURG — The American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region started a new service last week to the Armed Forces program entitled Operation: Stronger Together by sending out 10 boxes of donated Middleswarth Chips to military overseas.

Hudock Capital Group partnered with Middleswarth to support the efforts. The first shipment went out on Aug. 4 from the Middleswarth Potato Chip factory in Middleburg.

“What I love about it is that it’s individual. We aren’t sending it to a warehouse some place… I watched them loading it onto the truck,” said Barbara Hudock, CEO of Hudock Capital Group. “They had barbecue and plain potato chips. They were sending them directly to the military base in Iraq.”

The new program lets the Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region act as a “sister chapter” to the Red Cross in Baghdad. The idea is to send a taste of home, like home-town chips from Central Pennsylvania, to those who are missing home overseas while serving in the Armed Forces.

“It can be so meaningful to folks overseas,” said Jeri Sims, CEO of American Red Cross Central Pennsylvania Region. “It’s like apple pie.”

Sims said that they’ve been asking those in the area for donations, and they have a relationship with Hershey, which will allow them to send the troops chocolate as well.

“It’s a really wonderful way for Central Pennsylvania to say thank you to the folks who are serving us,” she said. “We’re just kicking this off, so we’re just asking folks in the area to support us.”

By having local donations from notable Central Pennsylvania treats like Middleswarth Chips, those serving can be reminded of things from home.

“It’s such a personalized way to reach out. I met someone yesterday who was telling me about their son, when he comes home (from serving), the first thing he wants is Middleswarth potato chips,” Hudock said. “It’s touching them in a way you can’t do with money.”

With the program being brand new, they hope to expand.

“We are the first to adopt a sister chapter overseas,” Sims said. “There are so many people who want to help, and they don’t know how to. We’re just trying to help and make that happen.”

According to the press release, the month long region-wide roll-out will not only include donations from generous community partners like Middleswarth but also mark the beginning of a letter-writing program to the troops.

Sims said that in addition to anticipated shipment of Hershey chocolate in the works, they also plan to have a Christmas Wish List for locals to fill out for the troops overseas.

“The Christmas Wish List is another amazing idea because they can tell us what they want,” Hudock said. “The people who get involved don’t have to spend a lot of money, maybe even $10, but can still give back to something that goes back to our troops.”

For more information, visit RedCross.org/SAF or email Jon Glenn at jon.glenn@redcross.org about Operation: Stronger Together.

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