The Vienna Ben & Jerry’s owner Kyle Hosch had lots of willing assistants on Free Cone Day, like Carol Hamal (left), a volunteer with local nonprofit Committee for Helping Others (CHO). CHO was the designated charitable organization that Hosch called the “perfect partner” to benefit from donations made during the event. On the right is scooper extraordinaire and B & J’s employee Moira Harris.
Photo by Andrea Worker.
Vanilla? Chocolate? Maybe some Coffee, Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz? Or how about a scoop of community kindness? On Tuesday, April 9, at the 2019 Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, kind-hearted ice cream lovers could get a double-dip with their favorite flavor and the opportunity to help their neighbors in need.
At times, the line stretched halfway down the sidewalk on the east side of the Vienna Shopping Center on Maple Avenue while hordes of treat seekers waited their turn for the free frozen fun. Some folks even gathered before the official 12 noon start time, like Audrey Paulsen, from Oakton, who had been shopping at the almost-next-door Vienna Rexall Drug Center.
“I am always on a diet,” she laughed, “but when it’s free, you just gotta do it.”
SINCE 1979, Ben & Jerry’s has been offering Free Cone Day at shops around the country and the world to show their appreciation for their customers’ loyalty. These days, about a million scoops get handed out around the planet during the event, in what the company calls “a global celebration of community support, fan awesomeness, and funky chunks and swirls.”
Each year, both the parent company and individual participating scoop shops support a charitable cause as part of the event. Ben & Jerry’s company chose Justice ReMix’d as their beneficiary, while the Vienna shop decided to spotlight local nonprofit Committee for Helping Others (CHO).
But “there are no strings attached on Free Cone Day,” reminded Kyle Hosch, who owns this location with his wife Christine. “Of course, we would love to see CHO fill up their donation jar. It is a great cause and they help so many local families in need. But donating is not a requirement. Those free cones will still be handed out, no matter what.”
The Maple Avenue Ben & Jerry’s is the second location for the Hosch family. Residents of Vienna for 12 years, they are happy to practice good local citizenship, and have used their business to support school fundraisers and the like.
“We’ve only been open since September,” said Kyle. “Free Cone Day helps us not only make more people aware that we are here and ready to serve them, but also gives us a chance to do even more good in our own hometown. That feels good.”
And that also does a lot of good for people in need, was Carolyn Mysel’s take on the event. Mysel directs food and holiday programs for CHO and was on hand with the CHO donation jar and a friendly smile at the entrance to the ice cream parlor. Even though cone partakers didn’t have to pay a penny for their sweet, or donate a dime, most seemed more than willing to chip in.
In addition to running a year-round food pantry, CHO assists with emergency financial aid, clothing, furniture, transportation, and even Meals on Wheels.
“This is a great opportunity to make people aware of us and our services,” said Mysel. “We’ve been serving the communities of Vienna, Oakton, Merrifield and Dunn Loring for 50 years, but there are still lots of people who don’t know who we are or what we do.”
JUDGING BY THE CROWD size for Free Cone Day, the numbers of residents unfamiliar with CHO will have dropped significantly by the time the giveaway ended.
Free Cone Day 2019 may be all dished out, but those amazing flavors are still waiting for you at the Ben & Jerry’s at 136C Maple Avenue West while the good folks of the Committee for Helping Others offer their community kindness flavor all year round. Just contact them at www.cho-va.com or call 703-281-7614 for more information.
By the way…I picked the Coffee, Coffee, BuzzBuzzBuzz. No regrets!