Chicago candy store takes stand on meaning of Sweetest Day

(Pictured: Rhonda Dehn of Morkes Chocolate holding an anatomically correct chocolate heart, which she will rip out of your chocolate chest if you chocolate think about corrupting her charitable holiday.)

Like many holidays that became national tradition, what was meant as a day for low-key reflection, gratitude and in this case charity is on the road to becoming a crass bastion of consumerism.

The 87-year-old “Sweetest Day” began as a tradition in Cleveland by a candy store owner. The man would deliver candy and treats to orphans (awwww….), the elderly and the homebound as a charitable gesture. But as a growing number of people discover the holiday, it’s become a kind of Valentine’s Day: 2, an interlude between February and December to gift your girl (or boy) with lovey-dovey (and expensive) things.

One Chicago purveryor of chocolate isn’t letting the injustice stand, even if it means selling less sweets. Rhonda Dehn of Morkes Chocolate would really like to see the holiday celebrated properly, thank you very much. Dehn says:

“(Sweetest Day) is not about spending money. It’s about doing something nice.”

I think a lot of people are confused. They’re like, ‘Where did this holiday come from? What am I supposed to do?’ They come in (to Morkes Chocolates) and go, ‘Uh, I’ve got to get something.'”

But Dehn is putting her candy where her mouth is, spending the day doling out treats at a local senior’s home. (But what about the orphans, Rhonda?) Dehn hopes others will take the lead:

“It’s sad, but the people who should be remembered are forgotten,” Dehn said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if St. Joseph Home for the Elderly or Children’s Memorial Hospital had to have cops outside directing traffic, because of all the cars coming in on Sweetest Day?”

[Daily Herald]