EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – If you love to eat ice cream, even during the winter months.  A new shop in downtown El Paso is providing people with disabilities an opportunity to work in a local homemade ice cream shop. 

Howdy Homemade Ice Cream is the brainchild of Dallas’ Tom Landis who came up with the idea in 2015 and with the El Paso community foundation’s help, awareness and life skills are being served up. 

“We want to show the community that we want to provide services and opportunities for people with disabilities,” Program Officer for the El Paso Community Foundation, Adam Tirres said.

With the number of shops increasing across the nation, those opportunities are growing as well. 

“This is the start of it. We really want to show other employers too that you can run a successful business, hiring people with disabilities and we’ll show you what we’ve learned along the way. If you’re interested in hiring people with disabilities.”  

Program Officer for the El Paso Community Foundation, Adam Tirres says when students with disabilities age out of school, there is not a lot of services for them. 

“Only 18 percent of individuals with cognitive or developmental disabilities have a paying job so we want to change that. We want to offer jobs; we want to get them back into the community.”

In addition, they want them to interact with each customer that walks in through the door. 

“Are employees eager to work, they’re very good at their jobs, they have great abilities.  If we explain the task to them correctly and let them know what they’re going to be doing and show them how to do it. They knock it out of the park nine times out of 10.” 

 All while making the ice cream fresh in the factory. Not only do they offer signature flavors, but they also offer dairy free options. 

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“They’re making the cones here in the shop, they’re scooping it. They’re charging people with the register. And they’re doing a really good job with it.” 

With the shop now open, Tirres says their goal is for the employees to succeed like anyone else with a job. 

 “Are employees, they’re earning a paycheck, they’re working really hard.  But the social growth that they’re getting is by dealing with customers every day, interacting with each other that’s going to be a real benefit for them. Enhance their quality of life. We have already seen it happen. They’re attending birthday parties on the weekends for each other. They’re going to social events. They’re interacting with customers and that’s where the real growth is going to happen.”

Tirres shares that they offer many unique flavors, doctor pepper chocolate chip, lemon raspberry, cripple pair pineapple sorbet, sweet mango sorbet and the dark chocolate chipotle giving it a kick at the end. Plus, they are now selling holiday flavors like the peppermint bark. 

Howdy Homemade Ice Cream is located on the corner of Oregon and Missouri Avenue.

MORE INFO: Howdy Homemade Ice Cream – 601 North Oregon Street | Downtown El Paso

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