Tax Day can get people riled up. When it comes time to write that check, tempers can flare. On April 18, 2017, though, Northshore Health Centers invited the community to come "chill out" with Kona Ice at their Portage and Lake Station offices.
Over 250 Kona Ice trucks across the country served free flavored ice to the community in celebration of Chill Out Day, held every year to counter the stress of tax season. Local franchise owners, Roger and Dawn Cole, partnered with NorthShore Health Centers to make their third year of chilling out a success.
“We like to say, 'No Taxation Without Relaxation,'” said franchisee Dawn Cole. “It’s also a kick-off to the summer season. We want to give everyone a break and a chance to chill. Kona Ice is a healthy twist that’s fun for kids of all ages. It’s sugar-free, dye-free, and gluten-free. We are a healthy snack that anyone can have.”
Employees and patients of NorthShore were drawn in by the fun tropical music and the bright colors of the truck. Each guest got a free cup of ice and the Kona Ice truck has a flavor station on the side, so customers can adjust the flavored syrups to suit their own tastes. They can even mix and match.
“I think it’s a nice thing for them to do,” said Maysha Carlson, part of NorthShore’s Community Outreach team. “They are out in the community, just like we are. Helping one another just makes sense - we go hand in hand.”
Kona Ice and NorthShore have partnered together for a few events in the past but it was a summer patronage that solidified their partnership. NorthShore sponsored Kona Ice’s cups, a series of 5 color changing collectibles, that patrons can buy for $5 each. They also get $3 refills when brought back to the truck.
“Both of them are really awesome,” said patient Kara Sullivan, who brought her daughter Peyton to Chill Out Day. “One of the nurses here let us know about it so we just had to come over. We go to a lot of NorthShore events, like when they do Trunk or Treat or things for the Portage Township Food Pantry. They are pretty cool.”
Sullivan helped her daughter choose from almost a dozen flavors for her ice. Some of them, like a strawberry coconut blend called Tiger’s Blood, stood out from more traditional names.
The Cole’s Kona Ice truck has been a vendor for many local nonprofits and schools. They like to donate half of their profits back to the organizations they partner with, and have raised $30,000 in funds this year. They also attend local Little League games, frequent the Chesterton beach, and can be hired for private parties.
“It’s a nice treat for our employees,” said Tricia Hall, NorthShore’s Director of Marketing. “And it’s open to the community as well. Anything we can do that gives the community, especially schools, a healthier alternative to snacking, we definitely want to promote.”
For more information on programs from Northshore Health Centers, visit them online!