By Christi Kim
An area that saw a lot of action during the Revolutionary War, Harvard Square was once again a battle ground yesterday afternoon. This time, however, there were a lot fewer soldiers with guns and a lot more happy people eating ice cream.
Ben & Jerry’s and b. good went head-to-head in a two-hour ice cream truck battle to raise money for local nonprofit Back on My Feet. The former handed out 1,000 free scoops of Late Night Snack, Bonnaroo Buzz, and Raspberry Fudge Chunk Greek Frozen Yogurt, while Harvey, the b.good truck, gave away over 800 milkshakes, said Jason Sweeney from Ben & Jerry's.
The area of Dunster Street where the battle took place, between Ben & Jerry’s and b.good’s Harvard Square establishments, was filled with an energetic atmosphere. From the nearest T station entrance, you could hear music from Berklee bands Canary and The Bones, and those who stopped and stayed to listen couldn’t help but dance to the rhythm. Members of the Burger Brigade, who were dressed up as burgers (obviously) and fries, welcomed attendees, solicited donations, and discussed the purpose of the gathering.
“We are running the Boston Marathon dressed in these burger suits,” said Berklee senior Dean Davis, one of the Burger Brigade’s team captains. “We’re supporting non-profit organization Back on My Feet.”
And nearby were the very people the Burger Brigade and BoMF want to help. Around every corner of Harvard Square, it seems, there are those in need. In a neighborhood -- and a city -- full of homeless people, a program like Back on My Feet aims to help develop a better society.
“Instead of giving money directly to the homeless, the money goes to programs that help build their self-esteem, like job outlook [and] education,” Davis said. “Also, they enter them in different races around the world, such as the Boston Marathon.”
Founded in 2007, BoMF has nine national branches. The Boston branch was founded in 2010. The organization “is dedicated to creating independence and self-sufficiency within the homeless and other underserved populations by first engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength, and self-esteem,” according to the website. Successful participants then move to the “Next Steps” phase, where they receive assistance in finding educational programs, job training, employment, and housing.
Instead of simply providing the basics -- food and shelter -- BoMF offers “a community that embraces equality, respect, discipline, teamwork, and leadership…[and] focuses on the very profound and innate desire for all of us -- regardless of age, race, [or] socioeconomic status -- to feel recognized, appreciated, valued, and important.” Their approach seems to have good results, too.
“To once again be caught in the crossfire of the sweetest battle on the streets is a treat we’ve been looking forward to all year,” Bridget Horne, Back on My Feet’s director of communication and corporate relations, said in a press release. “It’s just one of the many ways Ben & Jerry’s and b. good have demonstrated their missions to use fun and innovative ways to improve the communities they serve, which is very much in line with Back on My Feet’s own fun and innovative approach to battling homelessness.”
The Burger Brigade will crown an overall champion at next week's final battle, which will take place on Thursday, April 12, at City Hall Plaza, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. All money raised from the battles will go directly to Back on My Feet, helping the organization to expand its programs to more local homeless shelters and transitional facilities.
About Christi -- I'm a student and copy editor in Boston. I have an interest in pretty much everything. I like to spend my free time as part photographer, writer, graphic designer, foodie, artist, and musician. I enjoy reading in a quiet sunlit room and watching movies with friends.
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