The Socially Conscious Sales Team

By on January 9, 2014 | Category: News | 2 Comments

The Sales Team brought joy to a few families in Milipitas during the holidays.  During the annual meeting, team members went shopping together to buy gifts for families identified by the Family Giving Tree, and then the team wrapped the gifts and delivered them to the families.  The sales team continues their tradition of service, after working last year with the Golden Gate Park Conservancy at Fort Funston

Jared Pastega from the Grocery team organized the event.  Jared is also a member of Bend’s Charitable Contribution Committee, the team that makes decisions on local donations.  Jared is highly interested in philanthropy.  George Smith, from the Drug/Discount team, is also heavily involved in community support, serving on American Licorice’s Community Engagement team, the team that influences direction on corporate giving and activities.  George is a long time supporter of the Boys and Girls Club.

Here are a few pictures from this year’s event.  Enjoy!

Wrapping the gifts

Wrapping the gifts

Making a list...

Making a list…

Wrap it up, in Union City

Wrap it up, in Union City

Mary and Jim

Mary and Jim

Liz directs the shopping

Liz directs the shopping

Erik and Jared have fun in the aisles

Erik and Jared have fun in the aisles


Long lasting impact in West Oakland

By on December 17, 2013 | Category: News | 3 Comments

By Oswaldo Salcedo

Oswaldo in West Oakland, Photo Credits: © Clif Bar & Company, Photo:  Anne Hamersky

Oswaldo in West Oakland, Photo Credits: © Clif Bar & Company, Photo: Anne Hamersky

In August 2013, I traveled to Oakland to participate in the In Good Company® service trip. I worked together with Clif Bar, other consumer products companies, and City Slicker Farms in West Oakland where we built a workbench, a mobile wood shop, and an outdoor classroom using the Timber Frame method.  These projects support City Slicker Farms’ work to provide organic vegetables at no cost or affordable prices to a community in a food desert.


West Oakland resident budget, Photo Credits: © Clif Bar & Company, Photo:  Anne Hamersky

West Oakland resident budget, Photo Credits: © Clif Bar & Company, Photo: Anne Hamersky

I had not heard of a food desert in the Bay Area of California. I knew that West Oakland was a community that struggled with violence and poverty, but I did not know there were limited options for grocery shopping even when a person has money available for groceries. Coming from Central Oregon, a High Desert where many options exist, I could not imagine that people just a few hundred miles away from the San Joaquin Valley considered by some as “the food basket of the world” would have trouble with availability to groceries.

Bike tour and quest to find groceries, Photo Credits: © Clif Bar & Company, Photo:  Anne Hamersky

Bike tour and quest to find groceries, Photo Credits: © Clif Bar & Company, Photo: Anne Hamersky

While in West Oakland I learned that City Slicker Farms was addressing this issue by growing fresh vegetables on an urban farm in West Oakland and by teaching the people in the community how to build and grow their own gardens on whatever amount of soil is available to them. Thanks to their efforts the West Oakland community produced 25,000 pounds of their own food in 2012 (according to City Slicker Farms).

Neighborhood art, Photo Credits: © Clif Bar & Company, Photo:  Anne Hamersky

Neighborhood art, Photo Credits: © Clif Bar & Company, Photo: Anne Hamersky

Perhaps our affiliation with City Slicker Farms is why we got a free pass for a week to do our work in a neighborhood that is considered dangerous. Except for moments when I got daring swinging from rafter to rafter I did not feel danger. The people in the neighborhood were welcoming and curious to learn more about what we were doing. When they heard that the outdoor classroom would be available for their use, a look of excitement came over their faces. In fact some of the neighbors were shocked to see a outdoor classroom in that area. “Why here?” they asked. They and the In Good Company project contacted a design/build teamwho then designed the structure, built out of a donated backyard redwood.  I feel fortunate to work for a company that supports volunteer service projects with long lasting impact.

The In Good Company gang and the foundation of the classroom, Photo Credits: © Clif Bar & Company, Photo:  Anne Hamersky

In Good Company gang and the foundation of the classroom, Photo Credits: © Clif Bar & Company, Photo: Anne Hamersky


American Licorice Company to Launch Fruit Vines® Bites

By on November 4, 2013 | Category: News | Tags: , | 3 Comments

logo-videoUNION CITY, CALIF. – Oct. 31, 2013 – Building off decades of loyal followers of the Red Vines® brand, American Licorice Company will soon tempt candy lovers with the launch of Fruit Vines® Bites – soft, chewy, bite size candies packed with delicious fruit flavor and designed to give everyone a new candy experience.

Born out of the candy lovers’ desire to celebrate life’s sweet moments with a delicious reward, Fruit Vines Bites will give consumers a soft, chewy on-the-go snack when it hits store shelves in early 2014.

The bite size pieces are the perfect size for a quick treat to celebrate life’s sweet moments and are available in the top 2 fruit flavors – strawberry and cherry.  “We wanted to develop a candy that appealed to the candy enthusiast and knew that soft, chewy, fruity candies would be the answer,” said Red Vines Brand Manager, Stephanie Louie. “And, we’ve received nothing but positive responses from all the consumers we’ve talked to.”

Support for the Fruit Vines Bites launch will include an integrated marketing campaign, featuring a 30-second national cable commercial, mobile sampling tour, a national FSI, digital and mobile ads, and multi-platform sponsorships to engage consumers with the Fruit Vines brand.

Low fat and containing no preservatives, Fruit Vines Bites will be available in three sizes: 2oz count good, 5oz hanging bag and 10oz re-sealable stand-up bag.

Live on the sweet side with Fruit Vines™ Bites!

American Licorice Company
An industry leader in manufacturing and marketing candy products, the American Licorice Company is one of the original licorice manufacturers in the US candy industry. Since its establishment in 1914, American Licorice Company has brought happiness to consumers with the Red Vines®, Fruit Vines®, Snaps®, Sour Punch®, Punchies® and Super Ropes® brand candies.

Creating community, in a garden and near a deep blue lake

By on October 23, 2013 | Category: News | 2 Comments
In the garden at Elk Meadow

In the garden at Elk Meadow

It was a cold week. This is not a surprise—it is Bend, Oregon and it is fall. We stood outside in the school garden while Cindy, the president of the school PTO, explained the project.  She and second grade teacher Wes Pyne are leaders of the garden project.  Each class gets a bed to work with so they can learn about growing food. The classes have also planted beds for pollinator plants. Cindy explained there were very few pollinators around before they put the garden in.  Now bees and hummingbirds are visitors. As we stood there, Purple Mums and Black-eyed Susans hung in there with us in the cold, and Joaquin pointed out tomatillos in one of the class beds.  Joaquin has been the driver of community engagement programs, like the clothing drive, in Union City (where we make Red Vines®) and has been a key person in Union City’s work to achieve their phenomenal recycling rate over the years.

The gang on the way to Camp Tamarack

Karen, Josh, Brenda, Larry, Jose G, Analia, Enrique, Joaquin, Jose C.

We helped Elk Meadow elementary add a reading garden, an area where kids can sit and read, write, or be in class while being outside. Elk Meadow integrates the garden into each subject at the school. While we worked, classes of children came out to the garden and looked for bugs or journaled. One kid struggled with creative inspiration for journaling, but Cindy coached him until he became enamored with an idea of writing about plants talking to each other about what was going on in the garden.

Joaquin and wheelbarrow

I hear a lot about how children spend less and less time outdoors. We learned about how important getting outside is last year from the National Wildlife Federation–how spending time outdoors improves attention span, improves math and science scores, and also creates connection with nature—a connection we’ll all need so that we can preserve this home that is our planet.

Jose C, Jose G, Enrique, Jackie, and worms

Jose C, Jose G, Enrique, Jackie, and worms

Joaquin, Jose G., Jose C., Enrique, and Analia from our Union City, California plant came out to Bend to do service work in the community for the week and visit our corporate office.  Karen, Larry, Josh, and Brenda joined us from our LaPorte, Indiana plant. The theme of our annual service trip is getting children back outdoors, so we look for projects to help organizations in that efforts.  The team stayed in beautiful Lavabelles vacation rentals in the old part of Bend.

Elk Meadow Art

Elk Meadow is an arts focus school

It is Enrique’s first time away from his family.  He keeps connected with them on the phone.  He is reading about Einstein at the suggestion of this daughter and shares tidbits with me from time to time, for example, that Einstein did not speak for the first time until he was four years of age.

“The world  could be better if everyone of us, give a hand to each other.  Thank you so much.”  Enrique 🙂

Larry and Josh

Fortunately, we were able to do some of the work indoors.  We put together six benches. Second graders stopped by and helped us. A couple little girls danced on an empty box. Larry and Josh built a shed for the garden while the rest of the group went outside and began to dig out foundations for the patios. Larry was one of our key advisors as we all worked on assembling benches.  As some of the groups tried to decipher the directions, we’d call Larry in, and he would get us on the right track.  Josh usually participates in service work through his church but was not able to this year, and which is why he applied for this trip.  Josh works especially well with the kids, who surrounded him as he patiently taught them how to put together a bench from Costco.

Analia in the garden

Analia in the garden

Lunch with the kids:  One young man wanted to be our guide and sat with us during lunch one day.  School lunches have improved tremendously since I was a kid.  Each child needs to pick out a fruit and a vegetable, and there are several choices of entrees to choose from for lunch.  When I was a kid in Chicago, I used to use my school lunch money at McDonald’s sometimes, because I was not a big fan of square-shaped perch and “fluff”.  At Elk Meadow, I chose hummus one day and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich the next day.

Amy helps out

Amy from Bend helps out

After lunch, we were treated to a presentation from Jackie from the Environmental Center on worm composting. Jackie brought in worms for the class to check out and explained how worms create compost–the food scraps and paper go in one end and compost comes out the other end.  While on the subject of sustainability, I have to mention that Karen’s home, in Indiana, is completely powered by alternative energy.  She and her husband power their home with a combination of geothermal (for heat) and wind (for electricity) energy.  She says the investment has already paid off, and they pay very little for energy.  I ask Karen if I can interview her about her unique story–look for that story in the blog in the future.

The best part of the trip?  “Volunteering at  a school/community that sincerely appreciated our help.  I enjoyed the interaction with the kids and teachers.  Also, knowing the benches and toolshed will be used in years to come.” Karen Browning

Joaquin at Smith Rock

Joaquin at Smith Rock

One day ended with a picnic at Smith Rock. I’d ordered in a wonderful catered lunch from Tate and Tate. It was very generous but hardly touched, as we were too cold to eat. Larry and Josh went exploring way up on Misery Ridge while some of the others stayed warm in the car.  On another night, we all went to dinner (indoors) with Julie and Chandra joining us from the Bend office.  Jose G. showed us a picture of his baby, a Pug dog named Mistico.  Accordingly to an online Spanish translation dictionary, the name means mystical, as you might expect, or “one who believes in the gaining of spiritual insight through revelation”.

Everyone had some time to go downtown and shop before dinner.  Analia, quiet, sweet, hard-working, and a coffee afficionado, started to open up to the other associates on her walk back to her home for the week.

Enrique talks about his work

Enrique talks about the work with John D from Bend

After two days working at Elk Meadow, on the third day we took a road trip to Camp Tamarack near Suttle Lake. Our original plan was to work with Deschutes Children’s Forest at Skyliners Lodge; however, because of the government shutdown, unfortunately, our project leader was on furlough. The Environmental Center, who put together all the service projects for us, came through and connected us with Charlie Anderson at Camp Tamarack.

Jose G and Enrique team up

Jose G and Enrique team up

Charlie is rehabilitating the camp, dedicated to his brother Tyler Anderson. It will be used by fifth and sixth graders for field trips, starting in the spring.

“We are extremely excited about this next phase for Camp Tamarack. The direction of development is to focus on opening the camp up to as many kids in Central Oregon as we can. By offering a rich outdoor education curriculum in the spring and fall, developed with the help of Deschutes Children’s Forest, we will be able to meet our objective of enriching the lives of kids with knowledge about all the wonders found in our own backyard.” (

Karen takes a break on our hike

Karen resting at the top of the hill on our hike

The team painted a bathroom, chopped wood, and cleared brush. In the afternoon, Charlie treated us to a hike—to the second deepest lake in Oregon. Who knew a smaller version of Crater Lake is right off the Santiam?  Brenda is a fast hiker and tells me hiking is something she really likes to do.

“Overall, everything we did I think made a difference”  Larry Williams

Josh at Blue Lake

Josh at Blue Lake

For the grand finale of the trip we got together with our fellow Bend associates and non-profit partners at one of the vacation rentals. Jose C., had brought peppers to eat from his garden at home, and he gave one of them to Cindy to plant in the garden at the school.

Jose C, the happy wanderer

Jose C, the happy wanderer

What a wonderful week! I spent the week with a long agenda on my mind of many things to do, wishing I had more time to just enjoy the people, the work, and the environment; however, I managed to be able to do that anyway. I found it truly amazing to able to learn about the great projects we are working on in our community and to be a part of them, to see a very deep blue lake, and to get to know a wonderful group of people—all who I missed immediately after they left.

What was the best part?  “to see everyone satisfied with the work, the way the team responded to it”  Joaquin

Brenda, the hiker

Brenda, a natural on the hiking trail



Back to school!

By on September 12, 2013 | Category: News | Comments Off on Back to school!
The backpack and what's in them

The backpack and what’s in them



By Laurel Haas

Tyrrell Elementary, in Hayward, California, is a new school for our backpack donation this year.  I was out in Union City and had the pleasure of visiting the school to pass out backpacks to the kindergartners.

We watched the kindergartners as they ate lunch and learned the rules of their new life over the next 13 years.  A teacher announced that anyone who was done with lunch should raise their hand.  One girl raised her hand and was allowed to get up from the table with her lunch tray, to bring it to the impressive recycling, composting, and trash station.  However, she neglected to bring her milk carton, so the teacher pointed at it, and she quickly retrieved it.  It’s the dawn of responsibility.

Mike Ratkiewicz, the Youth Outreach Coordinator (he has similar responsibilities as a vice principal), tells me that many of the kids at the school will learn English.  He says that although schools previously used an immersion program for language, now they stress getting the basics done in the children’s own language and teaching English after the basics are mastered.

In Spanish, a teacher announces to the kindergartners that all the kids are getting backpacks.  The kids turn around and beam at Jose and I.  Then she tells them that the backpacks have school supplies in them, and we’re rewarded with more huge smiles.  We pass the backpacks out.  The kids take them politely, some remembering to say thank you and others too stunned to know what to do next.  They are too new at this to ask for a specific color.

Working with the Kids in Need Foundation, an organization dedicated to making sure children have the basic tools they need to succeed in school, we donated backpacks for the third year, this time to 11 schools this year in La Porte, Indiana, Michigan City, Indiana, Hayward, California, San Leandro, California, Bend, Oregon, LaPine, Oregon, and Metolius, Oregon—to over 5,000 children.

American Licorice has supported children with philanthropy throughout our long heritage.  The school supply donation supports education in our communities.  Each year, we select schools based on need and ask each one if they are interested in a donation of school supplies and backpacks.  All of them enthusiastically say yes— they use them everyday.

A link to KTVZ’s (Bend) story on the distribution is here.

By Joaquin Almaguer

At Hillside Elementary school (in San Leandro, California), kids expressed their gratitude for the donation.  Some gave me hand written thank you notes for the backpacks.  “I will use the tools in my backpack to do my homework, to help me learn so I can go to college”, one note said.  Comments like these make our volunteering efforts worth it.

Please enjoy some photos from this year’s distribution.


Shoe collection for Soles4Souls beats last year’s drive by 600 pairs, thanks to La Porte community schools

By on May 21, 2013 | Category: News | Comments Off on Shoe collection for Soles4Souls beats last year’s drive by 600 pairs, thanks to La Porte community schools

9 LaPorte schools pitched in and collected 1,206 shoes to add to our total of 1,607 pairs of shoes donated to Soles4Souls.  Steve Walters, Ashley Wittman, Jenny Breinig, Rhonda Farias, and Dan Brady, at American Licorice’s La Porte facility all pitched in and picked up shoes from the schools and shipping the shoes to Soles4Souls to donate to people in developing countries.  Each location chipped in, making their own contribution and shipping out the shoes.  Chandra Hanson tapped into the Touchmark retirement home in Bend for donations.

Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from the warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people like you” reads their website.  The charity distributes these shoes to people in need, regardless of race, religion, class, or any other criteria.  Since 2005, Soles4Souls has delivered over 19 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes. The shoes have been distributed to people in over 125 countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the United States.

You can read more about Soles4Souls at:


Herald Argus Soles4Souls

Herald Argus Soles4Souls


La Porte cleans up Stone Lake for Earth Day 2013

By on May 2, 2013 | Category: News | Comments Off on La Porte cleans up Stone Lake for Earth Day 2013
Larry William cleans up Stone Lake for Earth Day

Larry Williams grab a mailbox out of the lake, one of the more unique finds of the clean up

Stone Lake Indiana clean up for Earth Day 2013

Stone Lake Indiana clean up for Earth Day 2013


It was a cold day in April, but several La Porte associates bundled up and did the tough (and good) work to clean up La Porte’s Stone Lake, in honor of Earth Day.  Ashley Wittman of our La Porte plant and a member of our companywide Sustainability Committee, organized the event.  American Licorice teamed up with Howmet, another local manufacturer.  In total, the group collected about 8 or 9 bags of garbage.


“Sweetening the candy industry with a dash of sustainability” in 2degrees network, plus vote for American Licorice

By on March 18, 2013 | Category: News | Comments Off on “Sweetening the candy industry with a dash of sustainability” in 2degrees network, plus vote for American Licorice

You can read American Licorice’s Social Responsibility Manager’s profile on 2degrees, a sustainability professionals network, where we discuss sustainability value drivers and employee engagement.  You can join the network to interact with peers regarding issues in sustainability such as water risk, the supply chain, waste, managing energy and carbon, and more.  2Degrees Network is an insightful and valuable source of information for the sustainability professional.

2Degrees Sustainability Champions Award

You can vote for American Licorice’s zero waste to landfill project in 2Degrees Network’s Sustainability Champion Awards by here:

Sustainable Business Leaders of Central Oregon Blog

By on March 12, 2013 | Category: News | Comments Off on Sustainable Business Leaders of Central Oregon Blog

How to sell an energy project to a Finance Manager?  Read about the group’s March 8th discussion at the Cascade Culinary Institute at our new blog on Tumblr at

If you are in Central Oregon and are interested in sustainable business, please join us for our next meeting on April 12th.  For more information, follow the blog or join our linkedin group, the Sustainable Business Leaders of Central Oregon.

Ideas on the road to Zero Waste

By on February 19, 2013 | Category: News | Comments Off on Ideas on the road to Zero Waste

In Union City, Joaquin Almaguer set up a creative system for recycling the cardboard cores of tape. Associates simply place the cores on a wire stand, after the tape is used. Making recycling as easy as possible is one of the key components to success in a zero waste effort–what could be easier and more visual than this system?

Cardboard tape core collection in Union City

Cardboard tape core collection in Union City

Also in Union City, Paul Silvey, the Plant Director suggested creating signs with actual samples of materials to help associates correctly sort their recycling.  Signs explain the recycling process for the material and show both pictures and actual samples of commonly recycled materials.

Recycling signs in Union City

Recycling signs in Union City

In Bend, we recently took advantage of one of Terracycle’s recycling “brigade” collection program. We collect used cheese packaging from employees in our break areas. The packages are shipped to Terracycle using a postage paid label. We are then able to donate points from packages we collected to charity. Terracycle offers a number of brigades, sponsored by consumer products manufacturers. You can get more information by visiting their website at

Terracyle collection in Bend

Terracyle collection in Bend

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