Charity opens Bradenton Dairy Queen

- For those who crave ice cream, a restaurant in Bradenton is serving it up guilt-free -- sort of.  All of the profits from a newly opened Dairy Queen are going to charity.

A non-profit called Lakeview Associated Enterprises bought the franchise, which opened February 20, at 8307 State Road 64 in East Bradenton.

The organization works with families to provide child protective services, addiction and mental health treatment and employment assistance for those with physical or mental disabilities.

"When you meet some of these people, you realize, gosh, I've never been challenged in that way," said Tra Williams, the chief operating officer for Lakeview Associated Enterprises.

Williams said the organization realized a few years ago that small fundraisers were not enough to help them continue their mission of service, so they bought a Dairy Queen chain restaurant in Riverview in April of 2015.

The organization has since expanded, purchasing a Dairy Queen in Pasco County, and most recently, in Bradenton.

"Times being what they are and the economy being what it is, chaos in Tallahassee and Washington DC, made us feel like it was prudent for us to seek an alternative method of funding," said Williams,"so to be able to make our own money relieves our dependence on federal and state funding and allows us to continue our mission."

With the exception of paying employees, all of the profits from the restaurant go to the Pensacola-based charity, which also provides assistance to families in the Tampa Bay area.

The organization hopes to operate 12 Dairy Queen restaurants across Tampa Bay within the next three years.

LINK: For more information about the Lakeview Associated Enterprises, visit www.elakeviewcenter.org

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