If you were in Woodstock Park enjoying the early July sunshine a month ago, and heard quite a racket coming from somewhere in the park, chances are it was the sound of the ice cream machine invented by retired Benson High School teacher Matt Pellico. Pellico is a member of Eastside Village, the nonprofit dedicated to help senior citizens in Inner Southeast "age in place", and he brought the big device to serve up the centerpiece of an "ice cream social" outing for fellow members. The invention uses an old John Deere tractor engine, a long drive belt, and a number of tractor parts, and it cranks out four gallons of ice cream in a little over thirty minutes. After the dessert was made in front of them — in vanilla and strawberry flavors — those who had come enjoyed it with a variety of toppings. Such outings are a regular benefit for members of Eastside Village.
The nonprofit says it helps people age in their homes by providing "a robust social network and coordinated volunteer activities". The motto is "Neighbors helping Neighbors stay Neighbors". For more about the Eastside Village program, call 503/866-0571, or go online — www.eastsidevillage.org
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