14:34 PM

HE&R Mother and Daughter Initiate Crayon Recycling

Service Action Heroes at Work

These values help guide our mission as a company. One value, in particular, drives this story, Selfless Spirit of Service –- serving our employees and their families, our guests, our community, and our environment (Own, Anticipate, Delight & Inspire).

When Connie Fallinger, sous chef at Hershey Lodge, started her new role, she noticed a plethora of crayons thrown away by young diners just after one use. To her, it was a waste and she thought about ways the crayons could be reused or recycled.

“The wax from crayons is not biodegradable and we were throwing thousands of crayons away which ended up in local landfills,” Fallinger said. “I just needed to do something to help, even if it was going to take place in the back of the house.”

She decided to start researching companies that recycle crayons. When searching, she found a non-profit organization, The Crayon Initiative.

Founded in California, The Crayon Initiative organizes crayon collections of unwanted crayons, remanufactures them, and then donates the crayons to children’s hospitals. The crayons provide a creative escape and welcome distraction for the young patients.

In December of 2015, Fallinger led her team to start the collection of used crayons behind the scenes at the restaurants of Hershey Lodge. The collections were then shipped to The Crayon Initiative. One pound of donated crayons can create 88 new crayons. In 11 months’ time, Hershey Lodge has donated more than 22,600 crayons.

“We are not only doing something for the kids, but keeping these crayons out of the landfills, too,” Fallinger said.

Connie didn’t stop at expanding her efforts to just Hershey Lodge: she shared her idea with her daughter, Caitlin Ensminger, assistant beverage manager at The Hotel Hershey.

“When my mom brought up this idea to me, I was on board from the start,” Ensminger said. “Our company is already extremely green-friendly but anything that we can do to help with this initiative is great!”

Since March of 2016, The Hotel Hershey has donated 100 pounds equating to 8,800 crayons.

“We are giving these kids a chance to be creative during painful treatments,” Ensminger said. “That opportunity is priceless.”

In total, Connie and Caitlin’s efforts have expanded to all of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts’ (HE&R) restaurants that offer crayons with children’s menus including Lebbie Lebkicher’s, The Bears’ Den, Hershey Grill, The Forebay, The Circular, Harvest, Trevi 5, Iberian Lounge, Houlihan’s Restaurant + Bar and Devon Seafood + Steak. The total number of crayons donated within the last 11 months is more than 20,000 crayons.

HE&R is extremely proud of our employees’ efforts to expand our dedication and commitment to being environmentally responsible and also involving local community partners with philanthropic charities in which we live and work.

All of HE&R’s restaurants participating in this initiative have coloring sheets to include our participation in The Crayon Initiative and how our customers and employees can get involved.

To learn more about HE&R Corporate Social Responsibility, visit our website to find the latest CSR report and more.