Kindness board at Mars candy shop makes us Proud to be from Pittsburgh

MARS, Pa. — What’s sweeter than candy, ice cream and chocolate-covered Oreo aliens? A kindness board.

“It has become way more than I thought it would, for sure,” Mars Candy Land owner Pamela Erskine said.

Like a lot of people during the pandemic, the former hairdresser of 23 years reinvented herself and opened a candy shop in the heart of Mars.

“It is just happiness. I just hope that it brings happiness to people. It is hard to come in here and not smile,” Erskine said.

Just a few weeks after she opened, Erskine insisted that a customer who didn’t have enough money for her candy take it home and come back another time with the cash. When the customer returned, she wanted to lift other people’s spirits the way Erskine did for her, and the Kindness Candy Board was created.

“We always did that give a penny, take a penny thing, and this is just a little bit more than that,” Erskine said.

The board is on the wall right behind the counter at Mars Candy Land. Customers leave a dollar for those who are short or don’t have money for candy. Erskine said $800 has been posted and used from the board.

Adults and kids use it every day. Erskine said it’s the kids who like to donate the most.

“They ring out and the focus isn’t so much the candy. It’s, ‘Are we going to leave a dollar on the board?’” Erskine said. “I get goosebumps just talking about it because it’s something you try to instill in your kids.”

“When I saw that it definitely made me smile because that’s really special, and it’s something small, but it can make someone’s day,” said mom Sara Worley, who brought two of her kids shopping for candy.

“It has been wonderful,” Erskine said.

Here’s where you can check out her store.