posted November 29, 2007

Students in Philadelphia Help with Parade Project

 Several Hope students studying in Philadelphia, Pa., this semester shared sweet holiday cheer during the city's Thanksgiving Day parade alongside 2007 graduate Sarah Pratt and the Hershey's Kissmobile.

Pratt has been part of a two-member team touring the East Coast for 14 weeks as a "Chocolate Ambassador" with the distinctive vehicle, visiting children's hospitals and new cities and meeting new people while handing out Hershey's Kisses and raising donations for the Children's Miracle Network. Joining her in handing out chocolate during the Nov. 22 parade event were (pictured left-to right in the photo) seniors Mike Forbes of Lone Tree, Iowa; Jonathan DeHaan of Holland; Nicole Prince of Holland; Stacy Thomas of Clare; and Tricia Cross of Muscatine, Iowa. Pratt is at the far right in the photo.

There are two Hershey's Kissmobiles, one visiting the East Coast and one the West Coast, and a 2007 Hope graduate has been touring with each. Emily Bennett is part of the two-person team traveling with the West Coast vehicle.

Emily's and Sarah's opportunity to tour with the Hershey's Kissmobiles grew out of their senior-year internships while enrolled in Hope off-campus programs themselves. Both interned with Marketing Werks while participating in the Chicago Semester program last spring and are continuing there as professionals. As students both had been involved in Dance Marathon at Hope, which raises funds for and builds awareness of Helen DeVos Children's Hospital of Grand Rapids through the Children's Miracle Network.

The Hershey Kissmobile has been touring the country for 10 years, with 2007 celebrating the 100th anniversary of Hershey's Kisses brand chocolates. The vehicles are each 26 feet long, 12 feet wide and eight feet high, and resemble three giant Hershey's Kisses. Each vehicle has logged more than 30,000 miles this year.

More about the Hershey Kissmobile and program, including profiles of Emily, Sarah and the other crew members, can be found online at