LINCOLN PARK — Bucktown neighbors raised more than $10,000 to help Wilfredo Cintron purchase a generator for his ice cream truck.
Last week, the beloved ice cream man thanked the fundraiser’s organizers by delivering free ice cream to Belmont Village Lincoln Park, the senior home where Steve Adolph’s 95-year-old father, Howard Adolph, lives. Steve Adolph co-organized the fundraiser with his wife, Ellen Zfaney.
Cintron, who turned 80 Sunday, felt happy and honored to give back to fellow seniors, said his son, Jonathan Cintron.
“I personally think my dad felt grateful to give back because he just turned 80 … and he was with people of his age,” Cintron said. “It might not have been much, but at least we can give back to [Steve] in a way.”
Lauren Hollasch, community relations manager for Belmont Village, 700 W. Fullerton Ave., said the residents loved learning the story of Cintron’s business and meeting the father-and-son duo.
“One of our residents, Joanne, reminisced about her childhood, with a ‘sweets truck’ that would go through her neighborhood, ran by ‘Popcorn Johnny.’ The residents laughed as they traveled back to simpler times of ice cream trucks,” Hollasch said.
Cintron got into the ice cream truck business in the ’70s after moving to Chicago from Puerto Rico. He’s had his own truck for 42 years and has driven his current truck since 1989.
Cintron has driven his truck throughout Northwest Side neighborhoods, including Bucktown, Wicker Park, Humboldt Park and Hermosa. He started off selling cones for $1 and still sells them for the same price.
After learning Cintron desperately needed to replace the generator on his truck, Steve Adolph and Zfaney created a GoFundMe fundraiser with an initial goal of $5,000. Within one week, $9,000 was raised. About $6,000 was donated the day Block Club published an article about Cintron.
“Once again, my dad wants to say ‘thank you’ to everyone that donated and for buying his ice cream,” Jonathan Cintron said.
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