Free ice cream day! Photo by Brian Rinker.

Mere minutes after Humphry Slocombe started offering free cones to celebrate its eighth birthday, a line had formed to the corner. The quirky deluxe ice cream joint could draw thousands today, cofounder Sean Vahey said.

“The least we could do was say thank you,” Vahey said by way of explanation for the thousands of scoops the shop will hand out today. “In this climate we are so lucky to be here and we owe it all to our guests.”

But it’s not just the customers Humphry Slocombe wants to show some love to – the cash register might not be taking in money, but a donation box was set up to accept anything guests are willing to give, which will go to the meal delivery charity Project Open Hand. Vahey said the ice cream shop began participating in fundraisers for Project Open Hand early on in its career, but has never tried this style of fundraising before.

Reflecting on eight years in San Francisco, Vahey said the founders were taken aback by how quickly the shop, catering to adults rather than children with boozy ice creams and cheeky names, became popular.

“We knew we were doing something different, but we didn’t know how quickly it would resonate with people,” he said.

The celebration and free scoops are scheduled to continue until 11 p.m. on Wednesday.

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