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Giving back through candy

Sisters honor mother through family business fundraiser

Gail Barnum mixes chocolate earlier this month as she covers pieces of caramel to make salted caramel candies for Give Back Boxes at Anderson's Candy Shop in Richmond. The Give Back Boxes help raise money for the Family Health Partnership Clinic.
Gail Barnum mixes chocolate earlier this month as she covers pieces of caramel to make salted caramel candies for Give Back Boxes at Anderson's Candy Shop in Richmond. The Give Back Boxes help raise money for the Family Health Partnership Clinic.

RICHMOND – As fourth-generation candymakers, Susanne Anderson and Katie Anderson-Tedder of Anderson’s Candy Shop know the business can be a tough labor of love, but they’ve found a reward that’s even sweeter than chocolate cremes: making a difference in the community.

Anderson’s Candy hosts an annual chocolate box fundraiser called Give Back Boxes in remembrance of Katie and Susanne’s late mother, Ruth Danner-Anderson. For $15.95, customers can purchase a half-pound box of specialty chocolates, with 25 percent of each sale being donated to the Family Health Partnership Clinic in Woodstock, a nonprofit, all-volunteer clinic that provides medical care for McHenry County’s uninsured.

Danner-Anderson died in 2009 from breast-cancer complications. The sisters said their mother let her condition go untreated for too long because she did not know where to receive treatment without health insurance.

Had Danner-Anderson received treatment through an organization such as the Family Health Partnership Clinic, she could have beaten the cancer, Anderson-Tedder said.

Anderson-Tedder found out about the health clinic through her former reporting job with the Northwest Herald.

“I wrote a story about the clinic and realized it helps everyone, whether they’re sick, homeless or battered,” Anderson-Tedder said. “I couldn’t help but think that because I was young and uneducated about local resources, my mom died.”

Susanne Anderson, who had just graduated college and spent two years volunteering with Hurricane Katrina recovery, helped convince Anderson-Tedder to go back into the family business as a charitable duo in March 2012.

Anderson-Tedder said she called Family Health Partnership Clinic Director Suzanne Hoban at that time to discuss her chocolate fundraiser idea, admitting she was emotional.

“I started crying on the phone and told Suzanne that I wanted to donate as much as possible to the clinic,” Anderson-Tedder said. “We always price the Give Back Boxes so that our proceeds only cover materials – nearly $4 is donated per box.”

Hoban said she is thrilled to partner with Anderson’s Candy Shop because it spreads awareness of the clinic within the greater community and lessens the chance of patients being turned away.

“We are able to say ‘yes’ to more people,” Hoban said. “Funds go to those most in need through medication or lab testing services. We don’t want to say ‘no’ to anyone.”

The Family Health Partnership Clinic saw 9,000 patients last year, when Anderson’s Candy donated $2,800 from its Give Back Boxes. The Clinic will be moving to Crystal Lake in coming weeks, and the candymakers have set a goal of $5,000 for this year’s fundraiser, which runs through Dec. 31.

Anderson’s Candy has invested in 1,200 boxes to fill with milk chocolate butter cremes, dark chocolate salted caramels and turtles – something Anderson-Tedder knows her mother would be proud of.

“Mom would be really happy that Susanne and I are working together to help others,” Anderson-Tedder said. “She would always take us to nursing homes or homeless shelters to show us how one person can make all the difference.”

And the sisters are now in the candy business for the long haul.

“I love candy,” Anderson-Tedder said. “I get goosebumps making candy when I know that it’s going to be more than just a piece of chocolate for someone. It’s going to make an impact.”

Anderson’s Candy Shop was established in 1919 in Chicago. The family business moved to Richmond in 1926. In November 2012 a second store opened in Barrington at 128 East Main. For information about the Give Back Boxes, visit

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