A resident of Rogers Park has been selling ice cream on the beach for years. Her basket broke – but here’s how you can help

ROGERS PARK — Angel Lopez has become a familiar face to neighbors at Rogers Park after years of selling ice cream, snacks, bottled water and other small goods at local beaches.

But Lopez’s cart is broken and he asks the neighborhood for help to get back to work.

Selling ice cream and refreshments is Lopez’s main source of income. But the 61-year-old can only really carry on with this work when it’s hot, which means losing his cart at this time – in the height of summer – is particularly problematic.

“I love seeing people smile and the little money I get,” he said. “I struggle to make it through the month, so it helps me get by. … I save up in the summer to make up for what I can’t do in the winter.

When Lopez’s ice cream cart broke down about two weeks ago, beachgoer Manar Elkheir started a GoFundMe to raise money to buy him a new one.

Elkheir said she goes down to the lake daily and used to see Lopez.

“We were always smiling at each other and just exchanging love,” said Elkheir, 27. “And then I had seen him after not seeing him for a while and he told me his bike had broken down.”

Elkheir immediately organized the fundraiser to help Lopez buy a new cart, which comes with a bike attached, she said.

Lopez and her ice cream cart provided refreshments, smiles and a sense of community for residents and passers-by, Elkheir said.

“I know people know him: he’s so radiant and he’s here a lot,” Elkheir said. “I was like, ‘I’m sure people here love you, and if they found out you were hurting, they’d do what they can to help you.'”

The GoFundMe raised about $1,000 towards its goal of $3,500, which Elkheir says is the median price for an ice cream cart with a bike attached. Lopez suffers from back pain and is unable to use a walking cart, so the bike allows him to carry on with his activities without injury.

“It’s truly amazing that we’ve ever raised $1,000, in any time frame,” Elkheir said. “I love him so much and just want him to have his ice cream cart as soon as possible. I’m just thinking about the end of the season – I feel like August is right around the corner.

You can donate to Lopez’s fundraiser here.

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