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Ben & Jerry's treats local healthcare workers

May 28, 2020
MEREDITH — Residents and staff at two local health facilities enjoyed some free ice cream thanks to the Meredith Ben & Jerry's and the company's program to spread joy to frontline workers.

Last Wednesday, representatives from Golden View Health Care Center in Meredith and Spaulding Youth Center in Northfield visited the Ben & Jerry's shop in Mill Falls Marketplace to pick up hundreds of servings of free ice cream for their residents and staff. The facilities received their ice cream as part of Ben & Jerry's "Project Joy" program donating ice cream to those on the frontline of the battle against COVID-19.

Spaulding Youth Center had ordered catering from Ben & Jerry's as a treat for the students and staff. Store owner Jane Cohen said she thought this would be a good candidate for the "Project Joy" program. Cohen said the company has encouraged franchisees to reach out to hospitals, first responders, and other frontline workers. Cohen said she asked the company if giving to a residential facility like Spaulding would qualify for the project and the company agreed it did.

"This is the fun part if the job for sure and we're lucky to be with a franchise that's known for giving back," Cohen said.

Afterward, Golden View volunteer Deborah Crosby saw something about the "Project Joy" program in a local paper and contacted Ben & Jerry's about possibly getting some ice cream for Golden View. Cohen said the franchise has had a close relationship with Golden View for many years. Her own parents have been residents at Golden View.

Cohen said the store would still cover any ice cream amounts that went over that covered in the program.

As residential healthcare facilities, Spaulding Youth Center and Golden View are both front and center in the fight against COVID-19. Thankfully both facilities have been free of coronavirus so far.

Currently, 42 children and young adults between the ages of 4-21 with a wide range of developmental disabilities, neurological impairments, behavioral difficulties, and other challenges reside at Spaulding Youth Center.

"I think it's because we've taken an abundance of caution in everything we do," said Spaulding CEO Susan Ryan.

Ryan said residents live in multiple cottages and stay within their own separate groups. She said they started using masks early in the crisis.

The center also has around 60 day students who are all doing remote learning thanks to the center's technological capabilities.

Golden View offers senior living options such as assisted living, traditional care, memory support, long-term care, as well as short stay rehabilitation for adults of all ages.

Golden View has also been coronavirus-free so far with careful planning.

"We try to cocoon the building, which is very difficult," said Frank Vignand, Director of Resident & Community Relations at Golden View.

Representatives from Spaulding Youth Center and Golden View came by with coolers to pick up their ice creams.

The Spaulding Youth Center received 250 servings of ice cream for its students and staff members

Ryan said it was really heartwarming that businesses like Ben & Jerry's were willing to contribute.

"It's going someplace where it will make them happy," said store manager Liz Breton. "They'll be able to enjoy it, bring some sunshine to their day."

Golden View received 200 servings of ice cream: 100 for residents and 100 for staff members.

"The workers in particular will really appreciate it," Vignand said. "It's been a tough (time), we're thankful to the Ben & Jerry's people."

Vignand also celebrated his 70th birthday that day and Crosby presented him a cake during the delivery.

Ben & Jerry's will continue offering ice cream to frontline workers. Cohen said their goal is to provide 1,000 ice creams to frontline workers and they will be contacting a few local agencies about the program.

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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