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Free cone day raises money for cystic fibrosis research

Patrons begin lining up for free ice cream cones at the DU-area Ben and Jerry's store.

Today is the day ice cream lovers have waited for all year — the annual free cone day at Ben & Jerry’s.

From noon–8 p.m., people can line up for a free ice cream cone at Ben & Jerry’s locations around the world — including the one at Evans Avenue and University Boulevard.

“It’s an interesting, fun time for everyone,” said Carolyn Steffens, managing partner of three Denver-area stores as she was greeting the first of the day’s free cone lovers.

Ben & Jerry’s started the tradition 32 years ago to thank customers for their business. Each participating location partners with a local nonprofit to further the company’s commitment to community engagement.

The three locations in the Denver metro area — Park Meadows, Belmar and DU — have partnered with the Colorado chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for the past four years.

All donations benefit the foundation. The Denver locations raised more than $6,500 last year, Steffens says. A snowstorm in Colorado prevented many people from taking part in last year’s free cone day, and Steffens says she hopes to raise more money for the foundation this year.

Steffens estimates the three stores gave out approximately 7,000–8,000 free cones in 2010.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects approximately 30,000 people nationwide. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was started in 1955 and relies on community events and donations for its funding.

Brooke Spain, development director for the foundation in Colorado, says free cone day donations will help the organization tremendously.

“Money buys science, and science buys lives,” Spain says.

Ben & Jerry’s is serving 11 different flavors of ice cream today. Two new flavors include Colbert’s Americone Dream and Fallon’s Late Night Snack — which were developed for the event by TV personalities Steven Colbert and Jimmy Fallon.

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Editor’s note: The DU Ben & Jerry’s shop gave away more than 6,500 cones and collected $2,630 in donations for the Colorado Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at this year’s free cone day. The three Denver-area stores served a combined total of 17,300 cones and collected $8,990 for the charity.

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