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12-Year-Old Whips Up Homemade Ice Cream For Local Food Pantry

Ric Cengeri
In his free time after school, 12-year-old Wesley Stocken makes homemade ice cream to donate to his local food pantry in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Wesley Stocken, a 12-year-old from Hanover, New Hampshire is doing something pretty darn cool for his community. Wesley is in 6th grade and in his free time he whips up batches of ice cream to donate to the food pantry at the Upper Valley Haven in White River Junction.

Vermont Edition visited Wesley during his school break to learn how he makes ice cream for others.

On his recipe: 

“Two cups of heavy cream," Wesley explains, as he measures. "And then I pour it into the bowl that we put all the ingredients in. And then the whole milk. And then I put drops of vanilla. 3/4 a cup of sugar. There we go. While it’s blending, I pound some peppermint.”

Wesley says he focuses his efforts on just a few flavors, but still experiments to find new recipes. 

“We mainly make vanilla and peppermint but at some point, we tried Cherry Garcia," he explains. "But that didn’t quite work, mainly with the cherries. It all turned into one gooey mess.”

On sharing his ice cream with the community:

“I think it's cool to see their face and to see how sometimes it never even makes it to the freezer," says Wesley. "Because it's something that people really enjoy.”

Jennifer Fontaine, Director of Community Services and Operations at the Upper Valley Haven, says Wesley's efforts are appreciated by visitors to the food pantry. 

“People are thrilled," says Fontaine. "It's definitely a luxury item that we obviously can't purchase or have here. I mean, everyone loves ice cream. But it's not necessarily something that's in their budget either." 

"I think ice cream’s one of those comfort foods — something nice that people don't expect," she explains. "And so they're thankful to come and be able to get food but then they're even happier when they can get ice cream.”

"I think it's cool ... to see how sometimes it never even makes it to the freezer because it's something that people really enjoy." — Wesley Stocken

Marybeth Stocken, Wesley's mother, agrees. 

“We saw one lady, I think it was her first time to check in at the Haven, and she just looked completely defeated," says Marybeth Stocken. "She had two little girls with her and she was checking in and they were explaining the program and what food she was allowed to take and such.”

“I said, ‘Ma’am, my son just brought a dozen pints of ice cream. If you hurry, you can go get some for your daughters.’ She looked at me her whole face lit up," Marybeth Stocken continues. "She said, ‘We haven't had ice cream all summer.’”

Ric was a producer for Vermont Edition and host of the VPR Cafe.
Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
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