SANDPOINT — It’s a pretty sweet deal.
Brighten someone’s Valentine’s Day and help out local veterans in need.
That’s the idea behind a joint campaign being rolled out by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2453 and Trust Vets, a group which connects the public with veteran-owned businesses in the community. The two groups are selling handmade chocolate bars at local businesses in the run-up to Valentine’s Day to raise money for vets who are in a pinch.
“It’s a fundraiser for vets in need,” said veteran Rich Faletto, a local Trust Vets representative.
Money collected through the fundraiser stays strictly within Bonner County.
The specially made 3 1/2-inch by 2-inch bars were made by Sandpoint Chocolate Bear. The bean-to-bar chocolates are made from organic cacao from the Dominican Republic and sell for $3 apiece.
They’re imprinted with the message “Freedom is Sweet” and feature a starry background.
Faletto said the feedback on the handmade bars has been overwhelmingly positive. Some have even stated that they beat the confections churned out by chocolatiers in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe.
“I think it’s a kind of win-win situation,” said veteran George Eskridge, vice commander of VFW Post No. 2453.
Eskridge said the bars are a tasty reminder that veterans are owed much for our freedoms.
Sandpoint Chocolate Bear is owned by veteran Dennis Powell and another local vet, Brett Batchelor of Busy Beaver Graphics, designed artwork so merchandising boxes stand out at local businesses. The bars can be found at the 219 Lounge, Cafe Trinity, Route 66 Autobody, Sandpoint Chocolate Bear, Sandpoint Furniture/Carpet One, Sears and the UPS Store on Cedar.
Faletto said the campaign is patterned after a promotion developed by Trust Vets and may expand to include dark and white chocolates depending on how the inaugural fundraiser pans out.
The local VFW provides a wide array of assistance to vets, everything from arranging transportation to providing firewood and helping vets financially. Eskridge said the group recently helped a vet cover rent while he was between jobs.
“It’s all of the above,” Eskridge said of the types of assistance the VFW offers.