NKY candy company helps connect students to internet

Mentos and Airheads creator hands over $10,000 check to United Way

NKY candy maker gives internet access to students

ERLANGER, Ky. (FOX19) - A Northern Kentucky candy company is giving a pretty sweet gift to the United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

Perfetti Van Melle, based in Erlanger and the sole makers of Airheads and Mentos, held it’s annual Community Day Tuesday to donate $10,000 to connect students to internet. Together with Cincinnati Bell, the United Way is working to connect 60,000 Northern Kentucky students to WIFI. The money will specifically targeting the Erlanger/Elsmere School District in its backyard, but will also make money available for students in five Morthern Kentucky counties to access Wi-Fi for remote learning

“Giving back where our Perfetti Van Melle employees live and work is a big part of our identity and values," said Sylvia Buxton, president and CEO of Perfetti Van Melle North America. "We love that we can help many more students in Northern Kentucky get equal access to virtual learning and help close the learning-achievement gap, especially with all the challenges students and families are facing because of COVID-19.”

The company typically holds a day of service where the factory shuts down and the employees go out to volunteer. Due to the pandemic, the company donated the check and held an employee drive-thru parade. The employees were given a box of candy to donate to a non-profit of their choice or first responders.

“As an essential food manufacturing facility, we have been able to remain in operation throughout the crisis safely,” said Buxton. “Many of our employees are still working remotely. It’s great to have the community spirit alive by bringing our employees back here and seeing them for the first time in six months.”

United Way has worked with multiple funders and Cincinnati Bell to extend access to nearly 1,500 students in Kenton, Boone, Campbell, Pendleton and Grant counties.

Those who want to support the effort can text “NKYWIFI” to 71777. A $78 donation connects a household for six months of service at $12.99 a month.

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