About Cocoa Packs
In August of 2015, mother of five and outgoing PTO President, Christine Drexler, noticed the changing demographic of Derry Township and witnessed a growing number of children accessing food subsidization in schools. Christine realized that accessing proper nutrition on days that children were not in school was an overlooked challenge for these children and their families. So, she met with the Derry Township School Superintendent and the Food Service Director and pitched the idea of a weekend food assistance program for students K-12 facing food insecurity.
With their support, she embarked on what would be an incredible labor of love that would change her life, as well as many in the community, forever. She asked 10 friends to join her in fighting for the welfare of these children and between them, they provided the start up funds. She shared the idea with the Hershey Middle School Principal who offered to provide space for the project. A domino effect followed resulting in a collaboration of support and Cocoa Packs was born.
With the evolution of Cocoa Packs, and a greater understanding of the struggles of the Cocoa Packs participants, additional supports have been added to the programming. Cocoa Packs witnessed that supporting the participants of the program required an expanded mission that includes the enhancement of both emotional and physical wellness.
Cocoa Packs developed as a result of a concerned community with a desire and passion to care for its own children. The organization continues to be fueled and operated by the citizens of the community with a great intensity and drive to support these children through a difficult period, guiding them to opportunities for a brighter future. Cocoa Packs does not receive any State or Federal funding. All funds, space, and in kind services and products have been donated.
Today, Hershey Middle School continues to serve at the heart of the organization. Called the “distribution center” it is where all food is collected, processed, organized and distributed on the premises and to ancillary sites with a pick up choice of either Thursday or Friday. Cocoa Packs now serves 10 sites for food access in Derry Township and surrounding areas. The sites include: Hershey Early Childhood Center, Hershey Elementary School, Hershey Middle School, Hershey High School, St. Joan of Arc School, Market Square Friends, Milton Hershey School, The Vista School, The Hershey Library (emergency packs are available at this site, which also contain information on registering to be a Cocoa Packs participant) and the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg.