MIDDLETOWN — Everyone in Middletown had the opportunity to get free ice cream 10 times this year.
Since mid-May, an ice cream truck provided by Hollis Tharpe of Front Royal drove through town every other Sunday offering frozen treats.
This past Sunday marked the last time for the free ice cream which was given away at an “end of summer blast.”
Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV said the idea for the effort came about in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when town residents were stuck at home and town leaders were looking for ways to raise their spirits.
Harbaugh, Town Council members and a few local residents decided to pitch in to cover the cost of the ice cream.
May 17 marked the first time the ice cream was given out. It was such a success that town businesses contacted Harbaugh to contribute money to keep the effort going.
“The kids and families really needed a morale boost, and we just thought it was cool if we could coordinate free ice cream in town just one time,” Harbaugh said. “But this thing just really took a hold and everybody wanted to be a part of it.”
More than $4,000 was raised by town businesses and residents to sponsor the free ice cream.
“It’s hard to imagine how generous people are to be able to feed a town full of kids ice cream 10 times this summer,” Harbaugh said. “The town is so philanthropic. Everybody was participating in this thing. Whether it was $5 or $10, people were keeping this thing moving as long they could.”