Raegan Young and her family had a dream to perform random acts of kindness throughout their community, but they needed a way of accomplishing it. Young also noticed that their small town of Pendleton needed an ice cream shop, so she, together with husband, Sam, and daughters, Abby and Emma, decided to marry the two and create Mama Rae’s Scoops on the Square.

“We call it ‘random acts of ice cream,’” Young said. 

Fans who follow the shop’s social media pages will see the “name of the day” every morning, and bearers of that name are entitled to a free scoop of their favorite flavor. Mama Rae’s also hides sparkly ice cream cone ornaments around Pendleton Town Square. Lucky finders get some free ice cream. 

There is a tip jar inside the shop, but the tips don’t go to employees. Instead, they go to local charities and families in need. It might be a father with a cancer diagnosis or a local home for foster children, but all money in the jar will help the community in some way.

“We really wanted to create something that would allow us to give back,” Young said. “Anything community-oriented is something we want to be in the middle of.”

The shop itself is tiny, only 225 square feet, according to Young, and it sat vacant for 35 years before the family brought it back to life. Now there’s almost constantly a line out the door and multiple families playing in the courtyard. 

The courtyard boasts several picnic tables and Adirondack chairs, corn hole, Legos, Matchbox cars, checkers and more. Occasionally, Mama Rae’s offers a community movie night in the courtyard, free of charge, where families can bring blankets and snuggle up to watch a movie together – with or without ice cream.

The Hendricks family of Central makes a point of stopping in to visit Mama Rae’s weekly, as their daughters take baton lessons just a few doors up from the shop. Mom April Hendricks said it’s a wonderful treat and gives the family a place to gather and relax while waiting for whoever is in class. Four-year-old Sarah Kate loves to peer into the fairy garden or play with other children while her mom talks with friends old and new who stop by the courtyard.

“It’s a great place to unwind after a hectic day,” Hendricks said.

And that’s exactly what the Young family wanted to accomplish with their little scoop of heaven: a way to create community and a way to give back to their hometown.

“I want everyone who comes in to feel like they’re home,” Young said as she smiled at the line of people waiting for their scoops and a friendly face to greet them.

Mama Rae’s not only offers ice cream, but also coffee, shakes and more. They also cater special events. Find them on Facebook at business hours and the special name of the day.

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