Habitat raises money with Ben and Jerry’s

Free ice cream flooded Kogan Plaza Friday, as Habitat for Humanity teamed with Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream to raise money and spread its message.

I heard `free ice cream’ and I had to come down and see what was going on, said Dave Black, a sophomore whose Crawford Hall room overlooks Kogan Plaza.

This was just the type of response that Habitat was hoping for, officials said.

We are here to raise awareness, and get donations, said Mike Kuhne, president of GW’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The promise of free ice cream attracted just that, as crowds flocked and called out for chocolate and vanilla to the two volunteers giving out ice cream from a brightly painted Ben and Jerry’s truck.

The event, sponsored by Ben and Jerry’s, is part of a 43-school tour for the truck.

This is a great experience to be a part of, said Lou Delatorre, the driver of the truck and a Ben and Jerry’s employee. We began the trip in New Jersey and will end up in Miami, Florida. We will see a whole lot of schools in the D.C. area, and on the East Coast, and get attention for the local programs of Habitat.

The event dispenses 2,000 containers of ice cream at each event, and raises $300 to $400 in donations each day, Delatorre said.

The money raised goes to each individual Habitat chapter.

It is a great thing to work for a company like Ben and Jerry’s because of their business philosophy, Delatorre said. They believe that they are indebted to the communities that buy their product, so they give back with programs such as this.

Julie Petrella, an executive board member of GW’s Habitat chapter, said the event was important to increase GW participation.

Things like this are needed to raise some awareness in the GW community, Petrella said. The GW community is active, but they can always do more. We need community support.

The ice cream give-away was only part of the event, as students Thursday tossed Quarters for Pints and raised $133 for GW’s Habitat chapter.

Students also participated in a pint-eating contest in which three contestants raced to finish a pint of ice cream.

Crowds of students watched as contestants fumbled with spoons and then resorted to using their hands to win the contest and a Ben and Jerry’s T-shirt.

Jeremiah Davis, a freshman Habitat member, finished second in the contest.

This is a really fun thing for people to walk into, he said. Some just come for the ice cream, and that’s okay, because they at least see that we are out here and having fun. I was involved in Habitat in high school and then continued here at GW. But for those who have done it before it is a chance to get back into it.

Habitat for Humanity is a volunteer organization that builds houses for the homeless around the world. GW’s Habitat chapter coordinates with the several D.C.-area chapters in building projects.

We get calls from the D.C. chapter of Habitat and send groups out to build sites, Kuhne said. Sometimes it is a call for three volunteers, sometimes 12. We have a good base of support and people always really like to go and help on builds.

GW’s Habitat chapter will sponsor a trip to Florida during spring break.

Through the Collegiate Challenge will send a team down to Jacksonville, Florida for spring break, Kuhne said. We went to Miami and Jacksonville last year and this year it is back to Jacksonville.

Some of the money raised Friday will help cover the costs of this trip in the spring.

It costs around $300 per person to send them down, Petrella said. Last year we were able to send everyone for free.

10 members of the Habitat group participated last year.

Students said they thought the event was a success, and not just because of the free ice cream.

I think it is a great cause, Black said. I would be glad to donate some of my time.

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