On April 21, a specially selected squad of six student reporters visited one of the Ben and Jerry's stores to find out what happens behind the scenes on Charity Cone Day. Last Tuesday's Ben and Jerry's Charity Cone Day was not only made customers' lives a little sweeter, it also helped the Hong Kong-based non-profit organisation Crossroads Foundation. The global ice cream manufacturer's Cone Day is a worldwide annual event, which has been held in Hong Kong for seven consecutive years. Single scoops of ice cream, which normally cost HK$30, are available for a minimum donation of HK$10. Last year, Ben & Jerry's raised HKD$30,000, a much lower figure than expected, as the fund raising was cut short by a typhoon. 'A typhoon crashed last year's Cone Day. I was so worried about the weather [but] fortunately it turned out not too bad,' said Christine Ip, Marketing Manager of Ben and Jerry's Hong Kong. Every year, Ben & Jerry's Cone Day donations go to charities that match the company's own values. This year, the money raised will be donated to Crossroads to help them to support the needy during the economic meltdown. Crossroads helps to distribute Hong Kong's unwanted goods to people in need. They also support fair trade, one of Ben and Jerry's favourite causes, a belief system that strives to empower the poor. 'You don't have to be Mother Teresa to do charity work,' said Kate Falconer, Crossroads' communications manager, adding that shopping can be a positive experience if done through channels which support fair trade schemes. Ben and Jerry's also introduced their new 'values-led' flavour, Chocolate Macadamia, on Cone Day. Along with the other four values-led flavours available in Hong Kong, it is made from fair trade and sustainably-harvested ingredients, allowing ice cream lovers to enjoy a delicious dessert and feel good about themselves at the same time. While the day seemed to be popular, both Ms Ip and Ms Falconer said many customers admitted they were only 'in it for the ice cream'. Ms Falconer said that Hong Kong people's awareness of social and environmental matters is slightly behind that of other major cities, but that they are willing to find out more. 'Customers may just pass by and find out that it's Cone Day - some of them are unfamiliar with the concept,' she says. Ms Ip agrees that while such charity work is rare in Hong Kong, when customers talk to scoopers, they learn more about fair trade while enjoying their sweet treats. 'As long as the buyers are aware of the importance of fair trade, they're already doing something for the good of the unfortunate,' she says. While it's desirable to have more actively charitable citizens, it's difficult to blame those who participate in Cone Day purely for the sugar rush. At least, by choosing to partake on Cone Day, they help fulfil Ben and Jerry's missions as they slurp. Visit www.benjerry.com.hk to know more about their flavours and missions.