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Pay it Forward with James ‘The Ice Creamcycle Dude’

As if we couldn’t love James “The Ice Creamcycle Dude” Karagiannis any more, he has gone out and done another good deed for Buffalo. This time, James has set up a DIY donation system so that lower income kids who can’t afford a one dollar ice cream treat can finally get a sweet cold bar or cone this summer.

One of the hardest parts about being an ice cream dude is seeing the disappointment on kids’ faces when all of their friends buy ice cream, but they’re left out because they don’t have a dollar.

Every once in a while, James ponies up and hands out a free treat to a kid who can’t afford one. According to James, he started off asking the young boys or girls to perform a math riddle, or suggested that they pick up litter in a fair exchange of services rendered/products earned.

Now, James has gone so far as to ask kids to write ‘Thank You’ notes to anyone who chips in a dollar or two. The kids (customers) write the notes, and then James ensures that the cards are dropped in mail boxes.

Maybe it arrives in your mailbox long after you’ve forgotten about it, maybe it arrives on a day you could use an extra smile.

So far, the charitable gesture has been a big hit. Good deed doers can either make a donation online, or pay it forward in person. James says that between the costs of mailing out the thank you notes, the postage, and the labor, the money coming in pretty much offsets the costs associated with the feel good project.

Thanks for helping us see to it that no kid goes without ice cream.

If you’d like to pay it forward you can do so by clicking here.


So far, this initiative has resulted in incredible results. James has just posted the following message on his Facebook page:

In my head I was hoping that we’d be able to collect maybe $400. I’m blown away by the response and your generosity. So far we’ve raised about $3,000! Including donations from 2 countries & 20 states.

Today we were able to hand out about 100 Believe me when I say these kids were happy.

We were careful to make sure they were kids who didn’t have money. We sent them all inside to get a buck, if they came out empty handed we told them some nice person bought them one and said it would be nice of them to sign a postcard to say thanks. We even had a few shocked parents who come out to see what was going on and they were very grateful.

Everyday feels good to be an ice cream dude, but especially today.

I’m not sure the younger kids really understood what was going on, and we’re going to have to fine tune our explanation and instructions to them, but it was cute to watch them try their best to write something. If your postcard has a bunch of scribbles, it’s from a kid who tried.


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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