Food for Thought

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A popular new Philadelphia snack food, Chumpies Potato Chips, aims to do more than satisfy a momentary craving.

The purple 25-cent packages feature the "Home Boys,"a multiracial trio of well-dressed young men, who, in a message on the back of each pack, urge teenagers to stay in school and avoid drugs.

Jerry Ridgley, the president of Home Boys Distributors, came up with the idea of marketing chips with an anti-drug message to help community children stay out of trouble.

"What better way to touch children than through their stomachs?" asks Mr. Ridgley, an 18-year veteran of the potato chip industry.

The chips, which take their name from current slang for something good or positive, have proved so popular that the company is looking for real-life "Home Boys" and "Home Girls Sweeties" to visit area schools.

"Girls would call day and night asking to speak to Kareem, Rafael, and Eric," Mr. Ridgley says.

The company sells more than 750,000 bags a week and plans this week to introduce its "Home Girls" line of chips.

The company has also received praise from educators and social-services officials. And, according to Zahir Ra, the company's public-relations director, "The message is in the chips." --L.D.

Vol. 11, Issue 23

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