Hershey Foundation Helps You to Get to Cuba
The foundation partners with the Bringing Hope Foundation, which is licensed to travel to Cuba "to deliver humanitarian supplies to an independent charity to benefit the Cuban people."
But why does the M.S. Hershey Foundation have an interest in Cuba? In the early 1900s, Milton S. Hershey built a sugar refinery and a town in Cuba he named Central Hershey to provide his chocolate factory with sugar, which was in limited supply due to World War I. That connection is what has motivated the foundation's 10 trips to Cuba in as many years.
"There's a lot of interest [in our trips to Cuba]," says Jan Hester, travel planner for the M.S. Hershey Foundation in Derry Twp. "It's a unique story. And people are fascinated by it."
Next year's trip is scheduled for April 16-24 and will include visits to Havana and Hershey along with humanitarian missions, says Hester, who will escort the group of 20 to 24 people.
The main charity supported by the Bringing Hope Foundation is a Latin American Catholic organization whose nuns include medical personnel who have taken it upon themselves to collect prescription and over-the-counter medications. According to Hester, Cuba has good doctors and a good health care system, but it lacks sufficient medicine.
The trip begins in Miami where group participants will stay overnight before flying to Havana. On their first day in Cuba, tour members will participate in a seminar on U.S. and Cuban relations. The next day the group will deliver supplies to the Catholic charity, take a walking tour of Old Havana and attend a cultural performance.
Days 4 and 5 will include visits to a cigar factory, the Hemingway estate, an orchid farm and the town of Hershey, where lunch will be served at the Hershey Gardens. As an optional add-on, participants can enjoy an evening at the Tropicana Night Club in Havana.
Days 6 and 7 will be spent in Cienfuegos and Trinidad de Cuba, where more humanitarian visits are scheduled, along with an antique train ride through the Valley of the Sugar Mills to restored plantations. The group will return to Havana on Day 8 and fly back to Miami on Day 9.
The cost of the trip is $3,575 per person, based on two people sharing a room, and includes all accommodations, airfare to and from Havana, 18 meals, all transportation on the island, sightseeing, a Cuban Travel Card and Cuban medical insurance.
Not included is airfare to Miami, which participants can book on their own or obtain through Hester.