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Church offers fun, free freeze

August 23, 2000

Church offers fun, free freeze



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Paramount BrethrenPeople lined the shoulder of Longmeadow Road Wednesday holding signs and yelling to cars but they weren't protesting anything.

Their message was a sweet one: Free ice cream. Stop here.

Led by their pastor, the Rev. Jim Stauffer, parishioners of the Paramount Brethren in Christ Church handed out free frozen confections to passersby.

Some members of Ablaze, the church's youth group, had the job of encouraging motorists to pull over. Others directed cars to the church's entrance and then to the carport, where they handed out dishes of ice cream.

Church members lingered by the ice cream table, chatting and giving the event a light, party-like atmosphere.

It was Stauffer's idea to give out free ice cream as a way of reaching out to the public.

It was meant as a friendly gesture - no donations were accepted and no dogma was delivered, said Stauffer, who has been Paramount's pastor for 17 years.

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"We wanted to make ourselves visible to the public by giving them ice cream with no strings attached," said Stauffer.

Within an hour, Stauffer and his group of about 18 volunteers gave out at least 25 cups of ice cream. People chose from chocolate, peanut butter, mint chocolate chip or vanilla. Each ice cream treat was garnished with a small pretzel rod.

Many vehicles that didn't stop showed their support by honking.

Stauffer said he thought some motorists seemed to be interested but apprehensive, which kept them from pulling over.

"We just want to give people a warm welcome with some cold ice cream," said Stauffer.

To prepare for the giveaway, Stouffer and his group purchased 6 gallons of ice cream and got out paints and markers.

Using an old appliance box, church members made a 5-foot sign shaped like an ice cream cone. They wrote on the sign: "God's love is sweet enjoy the treat."

When Lisa Lynn heard that the church was giving away free ice cream she rounded up some children in her Paramount-area neighborhood and took them over.

"I think it's a really great idea and it's family oriented," said Lynn.

Samantha Morrow, 17, of Smithsburg, walked up to the ice cream table with a crisp $5 bill in her hand.

"Put away your money," said Stauffer with a smile.

Morrow and her friend Joe Shoemaker, 19, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., ate scoops of ice cream while talking to Stauffer about their studies.

"We were just driving through and we figured we'd help out. We brought money for a donation but they don't want it," said Morrow.

Mike Johnston was returning home from work when he saw the young people on Longmeadow Road with their signs.

He expected to be given some church literature along with his dessert but was merely handed a scoop of mint chocolate chip, he said.

"It's a real nice thing," said Johnston.

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