York County man auctions off Twinkies to help buy Christmas presents for kids in state custody

When Randy Seaver learned that Hostess Brands Inc. would be liquidating its assets, closing plants and laying off its workers nationwide, he was quick to pick up a package of Hostess’ Twinkies “less than a half a mile away from where striking workers were still picketing Friday afternoon.”

(For those who haven’t been following the news, Hostess announced plans to go completely out of business Friday morning after striking members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union refused to accept pay and benefit concessions and return to work by a Thursday evening deadline. Among the Hostess plants to be closed is one in Biddeford, where more than 400 people were employed.)

Randy Seaver’s Twinkies

The news that the maker of the iconic Twinkies would no longer be cranking out the sweet, cream-filled snacks made them instant collector’s items. Demand shot up, and stories were published about people buying up Twinkies — and other Hostess snacks like Suzy Qs and Sno Balls — by the armloads. Packs of 10 Twinkies, which normally retail for about $3, were selling on eBay for nearly $25.

But Randy Seaver didn’t snatch up his Twinkies for the nostalgia.

He’s hoping to sell the potentially fatally wounded snacks to benefit Santa’s Cause, a program run by York County Maine Department of Health and Human Services workers in their off hours. Here’s how Seaver describes Santa’s Cause and the needs it fulfills in his blog, All Along the Watchtower:

Every year, these DHHS workers give up their time and donate money to make sure kids in state care can share in some of the joy we all take for granted this time of year.

Although there are several good programs that help make holidays brighter for needy children, many of the kids in state custody are older kids (adolescents and teenagers) who are often left behind or overlooked by programs such as Toys for Tots.

Each year, our family shops for some of these older kids. Their wish lists are minimal. Last year we learned there was a 15-year-old girl in York County who would probably not see any presents on Christmas morning. Her entire wish list? A pink sweater and a curling iron.

It’s amazing how far you can stretch a donation of just $10.

There are many causes and worthwhile charitable organizations competing for a dwindling pool of charitable resources.

So even though it’s possible that another big food company will buy up the Hostess brands and resume production, it’s a worthwhile cause. It’s probably worth going to Seaver’s blog and making a donation, with or without the promise of those Twinkies.

And if the Hostess collapse is permanent? Well, you could find yourself with a very valuable piece of snack history in your hands…

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.