There are some great rivalries in the world. Lions versus Lambs. Red Sox versus Yankees. Dark Meat versus White Meat. But nothing beats the competitiveness of ice cream processors.
For three days in Boston, however, nine ice cream companies will put aside their differences to raise money for the Jimmy Fund, the charitable arm of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Founded in 1948, the Jimmy Fund supports the fight against cancer in children and adults. (When I was in junior high school, Dana-Farber treated a friend.)
June 5 to 7 is the 30th annual Scooper Bowl. On those three days on Boston's City Hall Plaza, volunteers will serve 4-ounce cups of ice cream from noon to 8 p.m. It is an all-you-can-eat ice cream-palooza for guests who buy a $10 pass ($5 for children ages 3 to 9; free for younger children). Serious ice cream eaters can buy a Scooper Pass for $20 that allows them three separate entries. Previous events have raised $350,000 for the Jimmy Fund. This year's goal is $400,000. Since its inception in 1983, the Scooper Bowl has raised more than $3 million.
The participating ice cream processors and brands are:
- Ben & Jerry's
- Brigham's /Hood
- Byrne Dairy
- Ciao Bella Gelato
- SoCo Creamery
Each company serves four flavors. Ice cream not sold is donated to the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Byrne Dairy, Syracuse, N.Y., is a first-time participant. Eric Greiner, the company's director of sales, has a personal interest. His 17-year-old daughter Brooke is a patient at Dana-Farber. She is being treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The Greiners have made countless 5-hours drives from New York to Massachusetts and back over the last year. Eric found out about the Scooper Bowl on one of those trips. He recruited company chairman Bill Byrne to scoop ice cream with him next month. They will be joined by their co-workers David Prendergast, Mary Fietkiewicz, Karen Quesnell, Steven Pye and Ed Roloson.
Eric used the children at Dana-Farber as a focus group of sorts to determine what flavors Byrne will be serving. They sampled eight flavors and chose Cookie Dough, Cotton Candy, Holy Cow and Mint Chocolate Chip. Byrne is donating 283 gallons of ice cream to the event.
Hood and Friendly's are providing refrigerated trailers for storage. Hood's Brigham's brand was an original sponsor of Scooper Bowl. Sarah Barow, Hood's public relations manager, is a veteran scooper. She says there is a usually a good crowd at lunchtime and then an after-5 rush. The event is held rain or shine.
Hood, which is the official ice cream of the Boston Red Sox, recruits the wives of the baseball players to scoop. They "work really hard," Barow said.
Greiner contacted me because he would like to see more processors and suppliers to the industry become involved.
He told me that Brooke is doing "excellent" and that June is a big month for her: she graduates from high school, turns 18 and will be done with chemo treatments. In the fall, she enrolls in Babson College in Wellesley, just outside of Boston.
Greiner said the Scooper Bowl benefits their biggest customers: kids. He's absolutely right.