Nothing pairs nicer with the mercifully warm weather of late than a good scoop of ice cream, and while ice cream is perfectly wonderful on its own, being able to contribute to a worthy cause simply by indulging in it is a proverbial cherry on top.
This is exactly why Warwick Ice Cream has partnered with Hasbro Children’s Hospital, creating a brand-new ice cream flavor – dubbed “Every Child, Every Day” – that will benefit the hospital’s $35-million capital campaign of the same name to improve their facilities by donating $1 of every pint purchased directly to the hospital.
“This isn’t about the money in our pockets, this is about giving back to the community, and what’s more important than the kids who need it?” said Thomas Bucci, owner of Warwick Ice Cream, a local staple since 1930.
Bucci said that the mission to create a new ice cream for Hasbro started around Christmas last year, when the hospital approached the company looking for a contribution to its capital campaign. Rather than simply writing a check, Bucci suggested the idea of creating a new product. The hospital ran with the idea, and Bucci went to work over the winter researching and developing what exactly the new creation would be.
On Hasbro’s side, Tracey Wallace, vice president of pediatric services, said a themed ice cream that also helps bring in donations was a pairing as perfect as the flavor itself – which is an all-natural chocolate ice cream with toffee bits and salted caramel blended in throughout.
“From our perspective, ice cream is something that aligns with what we do,” Wallace said. “[Warwick Ice Cream is] all about families. I think ice cream brings families together, and we serve children and families every single day.”
Wallace mentioned how the hospital’s Adolescent Leadership Council – a group of young adults with chronic illnesses who, through a partnership with Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, mentor and encourage young children with chronic illnesses – helped test and develop the different flavor creations that were originally pitched.
“Adolescents can be very critical, without filters,” she said with a laugh. “Eventually, they came to a conclusion as a group that this was the flavor of all flavors.”
Bucci points out that Warwick Ice Cream prides itself on utilizing only high-quality ingredients from local businesses, such as Monroe Dairy Farm, and that the company ordered 1,000 pounds of toffee from Rhode Island-based Anchor Toffee.
“It's special because not only are we giving back to the community, we’re using products from local companies,” Bucci said. “To see them grow is even more special.”
Bucci said that the product will be available for purchase starting May 25, and people can find out where to buy it on their website. He said the goal is to move 100,000 to 200,000 pints, and that they will be selling it for about 16 months, but there is potential for the campaign to continue depending on its success.
Wallace said Hasbro was about 60 percent of the way toward its capital campaign goal of $35 million as it recently entered their public portion of the fundraising. She spoke about the campaign’s goal to fund an evolution of the hospital’s “healing environment,” mentioning things like improved lighting and layout of rooms to better accommodate doctors and families, as well as the adoption of new technology.
“It’s about the patient experience and the family experience. That’s what’s driving the changes to the hospital,” she said.
Wallace said it was special to be reaching out to the community and collaborating on projects like the new ice cream, which is at the heart of how Hasbro sustains their operations.
“We would not be a full-service children’s hospital here in Rhode Island without the support of the community,” she said. “Rhode Island only has 220,000 children, and it’s unheard of to have a full-service children’s hospital with such a small catchment … but we thrive and exist from the community's commitment and Lifespan’s commitment to pediatrics.”
Bucci said that Warwick Ice Cream will flip the switch on the first production run for the new flavor on Thursday, and then a community event is happening on Friday, May 24, to unveil the new flavor.
And if you were wondering – yes, there will be tastings.
“I can’t wait to try it,” Wallace said.