EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – In September, 17-year-old Hudson Hale got COVID-19.
The former Coronado High School student had somewhat mild symptoms, but was miserable for two weeks, nonetheless. He lost his senses of taste and smell, was nauseous and had a mild headache. His mother and sister, who also got COVID, didn’t have as bad of symptoms as he did.
Quarantining for two weeks, Hale, who grew up in Oregon and Las Vegas and who briefly attended Coronado, said he had a lot of free time on his hands. That’s when, he said, he came to understand just how much the pandemic has affected others throughout the world and in El Paso.
“So that was a big point for me and realizing that I really wanted to try to do what I could to help,” Hale said. “I knew I wanted to donate money or my time or try to give back to the community, to those all those people who have been fighting against COVID or to those people actually battling it.”
After quite a bit of research and brainstorming, he came up with COVID Candies, a sugar candy with small spikes that look like the COVID-19 virus.
“I didn’t want to be crass or insensitive to anyone, so I wanted to make it clear that I would be donating 100 percent of the profits,” he said.
All the proceeds from the candies will be donated to these three organizations: World Health Organization COVID Solitary Response Fund, United Nations Children’s Fund and Feeding America COVID-19 Response Fund.
Hale said he chose these organizations because they cover three different responses areas of those affected by the pandemic.
He designed the packaging with drawings of different people in the news related to COVID-19, such as President Donald Trump, President-elect Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as pop culture figures like Rosie the Riveter.
Hale found Chinese manufacturers of the traditional Japanese candy, called konpeitō, to send the candies to California and Texas. He originally wanted to create his own version of the candy, but quickly realized that it can take artisans up to two weeks to make the candy.
He then, along with his friends’ help, packaged the candies into the packaging he designed. They wore masks and gloves to package the candies, he said.
Hale said he has sold more than 1,000 bags of the candies, with many saying they are happy to support COVID research and other organizations that are helping those affected by COVID-19.
Each bag costs $12. To purchase a bag of the candies, visit https://covidcandies.com/.