This article was published in The Appalachian.
Eddie and Maritza Greene toyed with the idea of opening an ice-cream shop for years.
“They knew it was going to be ice-cream all along, but it just sort of expanded into the gelato realm,” daughter Rachel Miller said. “I pushed for the gelato because I felt like it was so unique.”
Today, Scoops, which opened in June, serves everything from banana pudding gelato, chocolate ganache cake, blood-orange sorbet, fair-trade tea, and specialty crêpes.Even more unique than the café’s menu, though, is its mission statement: “Helping God’s kids one scoop at a time.”
As soon as Scoops turns a profit, 10 percent of its net gross will be donated to a different charity each month. For now, 50 percent of tips are going towards this month’s charity, the Nene foundation – a decision made by staff members.
Miller said she was surprised and proud when her staff made the decision to give half of their tips to charity.
“That’s just really unique that people want to give back like that,” Miller said.
While the Greene’s have been to Nicaragua twice to do relief work, each time building houses and other structures for community members there, Scoops will focus on many other charities as well.
“We want people to know that if you have a local organization in the community, we want you to come forward and say, ‘Hey, can you help us out?’ We want to help our own community as well as other communities around the world,” Miller said.
Miller also pointed out, despite the word “kids” in Scoops’ mission statement, not all featured charities will be based around children.
“It’s based on giving towards everyone,” Miller said. “It’s just that everyone is a kid when they start eating ice-cream.”
Miller also said many people do not know they are visiting anything but a gelato shop when they first come in.
“I just heard that there was a gelato place and wanted to try it,” said senior journalism major Chemin S. Duffey.
Other people visit the shop because of its mission statement and stay for the gelato.
“I saw the pictures of the kids on the wall, then saw their motto and went in to check it out. Then I found out about their donations and organizations,” said Sara N. Wilson, junior health promotion major who spent June doing relief work in Kenya.
No matter how people find out about the mission of Scoops, they have been supportive, Miller said.
“I would say it’s been a really good response,” she said. “I’ve had people give a $5 tip on a $3 gelato.”
Soon, Scoops will have an expanded menu and even expanded opportunities to give back.
“We want to make all kinds of crêpes and kind of become the crazy crêpe place,” Maritza Greene said.
Greene added the store will soon offer the opportunity to sponsor a child in Nicaragua, through the NewSong organization’s Adopt-a-Student program. The walls of Scoops will feature photos of children who need sponsors. Customers will be able to come in, see a photo on the wall, read a child’s story, and commit to sponsorship, Greene said.
Miller said through this opportunity, even people who do not want to buy a frozen treat can help out.
After all, she said, “It’s not just about the gelato. It’s not just about the crêpes.”