Pronio’s Making a Difference, One Care Package at a Time

Pronio’s Making a Difference, One Care Package at a Time



According to the Department of Defense, national security depends on our defense installations and facilities being in the right place, at the right time, with the right qualities and capacities to protect our national resources. Our military-service members and civilians operate in every time zone and in every climate. More than 450,000 employees are overseas, both afloat and ashore.

Like many of you, I, too, have family members serving in the military with assignments in the U.S. and abroad. We are thankful for their service and excited about career opportunities in the military. However, we also worry a lot about their safety and wellbeing as well as their families left behind. We often wonder when they are away on assignment if they know that we care and remember them on a daily basis.

Thankfully, Pronio’s Market in Hershey, Pa. is doing their part to remember and offer kindness and hope to our troops by providing “thank-you” care packages directly to their home on the military base via postal mail, at no cost to them or their loved ones. Pronio’s funds this program, and ongoing contributions are accepted onsite at store. Some are loyal store customers while others are “strangers” wanting to be part of this and make a difference. During a recent shopping trip to Pronio’s, I personally read several heartfelt, hand-written thank-you letters from the troops.

In my opinion, these packages are game changers for many troops and families, perhaps helping them feel a bit less stress and more hopeful knowing people care.  Lowering stress levels is a good thing because health experts say that stress can agitate your mental, emotional and physical health. In fact, over 75 percent of all doctors’ visits are stress-related. Long-term stress consequences are associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, more flu and viruses and heart disease, to name a few. Stress also affects family, marital, social and personal relationships. Lowering stress levels is a key to better health.

Proino’s Market, started in 1919, has been a family-owned, family-run staple in Hershey. For nearly 100 years, Pronio’s has been serving the Hershey and Central Pa. community with the finest meats, cheeses, groceries, fresh produce, Italian specialties, bakery and homemade pastas, soups, salads, stromboli and sausages as well as a variety of deli items. Pronio’s also carries a complete line of organic and natural frozen foods. To learn more about Pronio’s, visit

Recently, I interviewed third-generation owner Mike Pronio to learn more about the store’s military outreach. According to Pronio, this program was started in 2008. Since then, Pronio’s has sent hundreds of boxes and thousands of pounds of personal-care items, snacks, magazines and non-perishable items on an ongoing basis. The front glass windows of the stores are full of thank-you letters and pictures sent by troops receiving care packages. These people who volunteer to risk their lives and leave family behind for up to a year at a time are extremely grateful that a stranger would take the trouble to send them a gift, says Pronio.

If you have a friend or family member in the military (Iraq, Afghanistan or Africa) with an 09 zip code (East Coast shipping is one-third the cost of West Coast shipping), please forward their name and address to 236 W. Caracas Ave., Hershey, PA 17033.

If you would like to contribute, here are some options:

  • Cash used for shipping costs. It is about $25 to $30 dollars per care package sent.
  • Personal care item(s) (no aerosol spray cans).
  • Snacks with a long shelf life and are not heat-sensitive.
  • Hot hands, good quality hiking socks, baby wipes, sun tan lotion.

After talking with Pronio, I realized that all of us can make a difference by thanking our troops. This program is just one more reason why Pronio’s is one of my favorites stores to shop.

You will definitely enjoy reading all the letters from our troops displayed on their front windows and, yes, be inspired as well.

Take care and remember our troops. Email me with questions and comments at Together we can keep Pennsylvania residents safe and healthy. Salud! ◆

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