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Free ice cream sweetens lives

I scream, you scream and tomorrow we’re all going to be screaming because ice-cream hotspot Ben & Jerry’s is giving away free scoops all day in celebration of its annual Free Cone Day. From noon until 8 p.m., customers receive a scoop of any flavored ice cream in a cup or a cone free of charge.

“Free Cone Day is something Ben & Jerry’s does every year, one day a year,” said Sean Pestoff, manager of the Ben & Jerry’s franchised scoop shop in the University Mall. “Ben & Jerry’s started it after their first year to thank their customers for keeping them open a year.”

While Free Cone Day has been marked on the Ben & Jerry’s calendar for more than a quarter of a century, the annual ice cream holiday now does more than just say thank you to loyal customers. Ben & Jerry’s franchises around the country donate all tips from Free Cone Day to local non-profit organizations. Each scoop shop selects an organization of its choosing to receive 100 percent of all proceeds. Pestoff’s Ben & Jerry’s is donating to a program called Best Buddies.

“Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that pairs volunteers across the United States in one-to-one friendships with people with intellectual disabilities,” Pestoff said.

According to the Best Buddies’ Web site, , the organization matches intellectually disabled (formerly termed “mentally retarded”) people with Best Buddies participants for companionship and employment opportunities. The organization has been operating since 1989, changing lives of volunteers and disabled citizens of all ages, from children to the elderly.

Free Cone Day is one of the busiest days of the year for Ben & Jerry’s, as scoop shops hand out at least 3,000 cones, said Pestoff. Be one of thousands to sweeten your life Tuesday and enjoy a sweet treat while your two best friends, Ben & Jerry, pick up the tab.