Full Bellies, Fuller Hearts 

CraveABLEs ice cream shop combines quality desserts with exceptional service to ensure that customers and staff alike feel welcome, supported, and well-fed.

Craveables Ice Cream Shop serves community, provides unique job opportunity for employees

By: Christian Shields  |  Photos by: Ashlee Glen

CraveABLEs ice cream shop combines quality desserts with exceptional service to ensure that customers and staff alike feel welcome, supported, and well-fed.

Started by local high school special education teachers Taylor Perkins and Genevieve Weaver, craveABLEs aims to come alongside individuals with intellectual disabilities by providing them with a stable job that not only allows them to better their community, but also gain valuable life skills that they can carry for the rest of their lives, including food prep, money skills, taking inventory, fulfilling online orders, busing tables, building relationships with customers, and more.

Perkins, who serves as the president of the non-profit, said that she first had the idea for the ice cream shop after watching several of her high school students have trouble finding work
after graduation.

“Outside of just my classroom, I have also met so many families who have had children with disabilities struggling to find something meaningful… and specifically overlooked in the workforce,” she said.

“A lot of people hear they have a disability and think that they can’t do anything, but that’s false. They are able to do tons of things. Sometimes they just need encouragement or the correct platform to showcase all they are able to do.”

With over a dozen different flavors of Homestead Creamery ice cream as well as options for ice cream nachos, sammies, and floats, the shop looks to meet every customer’s specific sweet tooth.

“Our slogan is ‘full bellies, fuller hearts’ because customers can go to different places and get ice cream, but there’s no other place where you can go and get sweet treats and also know that you are doing a great thing and changing lives,” Perkins said. “You’re providing [craveABLEs employees] with their first and, for some, only job they will ever have. So, we need the community and the customers to make this successful. Without customers, we are an ice cream shop with no one to serve.” 

In addition to the craveABLEs trailer, which launched in April, the company also added a brick-and-mortar location in June at 2608 Lakeside Drive. While the trailer allows employees to venture out and serve the community at festivals and private events, the permanent store enables them to better foster relationships with the community.

“By coming to craveABLEs, customers will know that it’s more than just ice cream and they are making a difference in all the employees’ lives,” Perkins said. “And vice versa—our employees are so happy to have a job and a chance to engage with the community and meet new friends. Our customers can learn a lot from our employees, such as how to be happy with the little things in life, specifically the opportunity to just have a job!”  

You can find craveABLEs at 2608 Lakeside Drive in Lynchburg and online at craveables.org.

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