USFSP Alum’s Ice Cream Drive Raises Party Funds for Foster Kids

Jon's Ice Cream Drive

USFSP alum Jon Boyd handed out around 500 free ice creams on his birthday.

(June 3, 2019) – Last Wednesday, USF St. Petersburg graduate Jon Boyd threw a different kind of celebration for his 26th birthday. Partnering with Birthday Candles for Kids, a local charity that throws parties for homeless and foster children, Boyd rented out an ice cream truck and drove around town handing out free soft serve.

From 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., the ice cream truck stopped at USFSP, the Mall at Sundial and Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails. At each location, volunteers from Birthday Candles for Kids, including founding sisters Chelsea and Kayla Hage, set up a booth and collected donations for their cause. In total, Jon’s Ice Cream Drive handed out around 500 cones and raised a little over $3,000. After covering his costs, Boyd estimated the donations should be able to throw parties for at least 10 foster children.

“I wanted to take what is usually a selfish day and make it selfless,” Boyd said.

When Boyd first launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for the event over a month ago, he set a modest goal of $400. Then the donations started coming in. $25. $50. $100. In less than two hours, Jon’s Ice Cream Drive reached its goal.

Boyd decided to double the goal to $800. The donations kept rolling in at $10, $20 and $50 at a time. After the ice cream drive was featured on local news, it resulted in another outpour of donations. The GoFundMe page ended up raising $2,293.

Ice Cream Drive and Birthday Candles for Kids

Jon’s Ice Cream Drive raised money for a local charity called Birthday Candles for Kids.

Boyd had a lot of help to make his ice cream dream drive a reality. A local vendor offered a discount on the truck for the day. The St. Pete Rowdies and Tampa Bay Rays offered to help sponsor with promotional items.

“Everything I’ve been able to do with this event has been grassroots,” Boyd said. “It just took picking up the phone and calling around.”

Chelsea and Kayla Hage were on site throughout the day with a half dozen volunteers for Birthday Candles for Kids. The sisters launched their non-profit a few years ago as Chelsea planned her sweet sixteen birthday party.

“It opened my eyes that I was getting this huge celebration and other children were getting nothing,” Chelsea said.

Since then the sisters have thrown 50 parties for less fortunate kids across Pinellas County.

For Boyd, the ice cream drive was about more than handing out sweet treats. He hopes it made a positive impact on the community he grew up in.

“I’m from St. Pete, went to college here and wanted to give back,” he said. “I am who I am because of this community.”