Ad agency reaches out to troops far away

Rhoads Cre­ative, a West Goshen-based in­ter­net mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing firm, worked with Op­er­a­tion Grat­i­tude to ship candy to those serv­ing over­seas

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian McCullough bm­c­cul­lough@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @wc­dai­ly­lo­cal on Twit­ter

What started out as a team build­ing project has blos­somed into a com­mu­nity ef­fort to help U.S. troops.

What started out as a team build­ing project at a small mar­ket­ing com­pany has blos­somed into a full-fledged com­mu­nity ef­fort to help U.S. troops serv­ing over­seas.

Rhoads Cre­ative, a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing agency based at Route 202 and Mat­lack Street near West Ch­ester, part­nered with var­i­ous busi­nesses through­out the area to col­lect sweet treats left over from Hal­loween for its project to sup­port Op­er­a­tion Grat­i­tude.

Busi­nesses – an area bank, an in-home care com­pany, and more – went above and be­yond when Rhoads ap­proached them for do­na­tions.

The re­sults are hun­dreds of pounds of candy and even hand­writ­ten thank you notes sent over­seas to the troops – an ex­pres­sion grat­i­tude just in time for Thanks­giv­ing.

“We do a lot as a com­pany and this year our team came to me and said they wanted to do some­thing as a team,” said Paula Rhoads, pres­i­dent of the six-per­son agency that worked with the national or­ga­ni­za­tion that col­lects and sends candy to the troops. “Who doesn’t love the idea of some­one away from home eat­ing choco­late in Afghanistan?”

Since its in­cep­tion in 1993, Op­er­a­tion Grat­i­tude has sent care pack­ages to vet­er­ans, first re­spon­ders, new re­cruits, wounded heroes and U.S. ser­vice mem­bers de­ployed over­seas. Each pack­age is filled

with food, en­ter­tain­ment, hy­giene, hand-made good­ies and per­sonal let­ters of sup­port. To date, vol­un­teers have shipped more than 1.6 mil­lion care pack­ages to show their ap­pre­ci­a­tion to those who serve the na­tion.

While a candy drive may seem like an un­con­ven­tional ser­vice project, Rhoads Cre­ative saw its value as mul­ti­fac­eted.

“As a com­pany, our goal was to give back to all who serve our coun­try while bring­ing the com­mu­nity to­gether,” Paula Rhoads said. “We are proud to be a part of this unique op­por­tu­nity and even prouder of our part­ners for go­ing above and be­yond ...”

Rhoads do­nated $300 to ship the candy once em­ploy­ees col­lected it.

First Re­source Bank, with branches in West Ch­ester and Ex­ton, had the com­mu­nity be­hind them through­out the col­lec­tion. Cus­tomers dropped off candy en masse, with their chil­dren even writ­ing thank you notes, leav­ing both lob­bies filled to the brim with do­na­tions.

Em­ploy­ees at Rel­a­tive Care, a Down­ing­town based in-home care com­pany, held the ini­tia­tive close to their hearts. The founder, a U.S. Ma­rine vet­eran, backed the col­lec­tion and en­cour­aged em­ploy­ees to do­nate candy from their com­pany-wide trick-or-treat event. Delaware County’s Rid­dle Vil­lage, a Life­care Retirement Com­mu­nity, pro­moted the col­lec­tion in their em­ployee news­let­ter, which had hun­dreds of em­ploy­ees vy­ing to see who could do­nate the most candy. Philadel­phia area builder, Prime Cus­tomer Builders, reached out to lo­cal busi­nesses to do­nate and in­vited clients, em­ploy­ees and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to stop by their of­fice and drop -off candy, Rhoads said.

Rhoads said the project was done with the Pro­fes­sional Women in Build­ing Bucks & Mont­gomery Re­gions, part of the Home Builders As­so­ci­a­tion of Bucks/Mont­gomery Coun­ties that rep­re­sents women in the build­ing in­dus­try.

“I get up ev­ery day and put in a hard day’s work in ad­ver­tis­ing,” said Roads, adding that she has a daugh­ter who works as a nurse in the car­di­ol­ogy de­part­ment at The Hos­pi­tal of the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia. “I think about her and I take that 10 steps fur­ther and think of par­ents with chil­dren over­seas. It’s a small way for them to know it’s ap­pre­ci­ated.”


Candy col­lected by Rhoads Cre­ative in West Goshen is be­ing sent to ser­vice­men and women through Op­er­a­tion Grat­i­tude.


Lind­sey Wil­liamson, me­dia and re­search spe­cial­ist at Rhoads Cre­ative, or­ga­nizes candy do­nated to ser­vice­men and women serv­ing over­seas.

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