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How Milton Hershey Changed

Local Lives in Central PA

How Milton Hershey Changed Local Lives in Central PA

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Christian entrepreneurs and philanthropists have been shaping economies and cultures since Christ arose from the dead, but nowadays, secular media either glosses over the fact or ignores it entirely.

The faith and grit of many Christian entrepreneurs and philanthropists have made a crater-sized impact on life as we know it. Let’s take a look at Milton Hershey. Although the internet is full of information about him, there may be some details some of the articles skimped on.

Milton S. Hershey (1857-1945), was born just outside of Derry Church, PA, and was the only surviving child in his family. Raised mainly by his mother, a Reformed Mennonite woman, he learned to follow God and the value of hard work and perseverance. 

Milton dropped out of school at age 13 and apprenticed with a master confectioner in Lancaster, PA. Then he borrowed $150 from his aunt and uncle to set up a candy shop in Philadelphia – at the age of 18! Although Hershey put all his energy into it, the business failed. After numerous attempts, from east coast to west coast, all of Hershey’s failures led him back to Lancaster, PA, where he opened the Lancaster Caramel Company. 

It was there he perfected his formula and success began to follow him. He then learned how to make chocolate candy, and in 1900, he sold the caramel company for $1 million! This transaction set him on a course to build the empire we now know as the Hershey Chocolate Company.

Photo by Rodolfo Quirós from Pexels

He then went on to fill a whole town, now called Hershey, PA, with opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people. Milton established a bank, large arena, hotel, Milton Hershey School, churches, parks, golf courses, a trolley system, a zoo, and lined the community with lush greenery and beauty. 

What you may not know: Milton was a Mennonite man who firmly held to the scriptures. He spoke these words:

“God speaks through men to speak the truth, our hands to do His work here below, voices and clean hands to make liberty and love prevail over injustice and hate.”Milton Hershey

After the death of his wife, Kitty, Milton generously left his entire fortune to Milton Hershey School. Today, the school is thriving and still benefiting underprivileged children. Part of the School’s Deed of Trust reads: “All orphans admitted to the School shall be fed with plain, wholesome food; plainly, neatly, and comfortably clothed, without distinctive dress; and fitly lodged.”

Profoundly, throughout the Depression, Hershey never laid employees off. He kept them busy building amidst critics in the community who misunderstood his generosity.

“What I want to do more than anything else is to give my employees an opportunity of advancing themselves in this world, and to give them a helping hand.” – Milton Hershey

 

SUMMARY

Christians and philanthropists have left their indelible mark on this world, most details trumpeted by the media. But Milton Hershey’s work ethic, faith, and grit are praiseworthy attributes that the mass choirs should sing from the rooftops. With his spark of inspiration encouraging us on, we can seek to leave outstanding contributions to our communities and the world – as he did.

Milton Hershey isn’t the only unsung Christian entreprenuer to change the world. Click here to learn how one woman of faith changed the game for fellow women of color by revolutionizing the beauty industry.

Individuals like Hershey aren’t confined to history, either. Discover how one Chesapeake restaurant owner continued to obey the Lord in the face of a global pandemic.

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