Charitable Children-Led Lemonade Stands to Inspire You this Summer
By: Miki Lendenmann
We are in the swing of summer: pools are open; the smell of freshly cut grass fills the air; and the taste of refreshing lemonade excites young and old. Running a lemonade stand is a fun activity that many children and their families take on. A refreshing treat for passersby, the profits can be used to benefit others. Whether you need inspiration for your own stand this summer or want to support one in your community, here are examples of children across the country who made impactful lemonade stands to support charitable causes.
Helping a classmate with a bone disorder. Brendan Mulvaney, Ballston Spa, NY
Brendan Mulvaney was six years old when he started running a lemonade stand in the summer of 2015 to raise money for a trip to Disney. It became an annual tradition and in 2018, Brendan and his family decided to put the lemonade stand to good use. They decided to raise money for 12-year old Maddy, a family friend who needed surgery for Blount’s disease - a bone disorder she had been dealing with for a decade. One of Brendan’s father’s friends created and donated a sign for Brendan’s lemonade stand. They also used a big pop-up tent and ran the lemonade stand on the corner of their street.
Their efforts paid off and they raised over $950 to support Maddy. More importantly, Brendan’s lemonade stand brought people from all walks of life together around support for a fellow community member. When Brendan was asked why so many people came to help.“Because we need to help Maddy. Go team Maddy! Like, we need to help her because she is really sick and we need to help her," he said.
Supporting a friend with cancer. Christian Redmon, Apopka, FL
When 8-year old Christian heard that his 4-year friend Silas was battling a rare type of cancer, he wanted to help. He asked his mom if he could run a lemonade stand. “We’re just hoping that we can raise a lot of money for his medical bills,” Christian explained. His mom, Dawn, put the plan into action and called the local Home Depot asking the manager if they would consider a discount or donation. They agreed to give supplies. When Dawn went to pick them up, she found an act of kindness instead.
Employees had teamed up to build and decorate a lemonade stand and made banners and t-shirts. It was beautiful and moved Dawn deeply. “I’ve cried several times over all this. It’s very touching. It’s very sweet that people are going out of their way to help like this.”
Christian set up the lemonade stand in front of their home and it took off. The community pulled together and raised thousands of dollars for Silas’ medical expenses.Christian’s efforts were recognized by the mayor and he was awarded a “Super Hero Certificate.”
If you or your children are looking to start your own lemonade, Dawn’s advice is, “Go for it! Don’t let it intimidate you or get discouraged that it may be too small. Even if you only raise $20, kids get to learn the lesson of how to help. Every little thing helps. Kids get to act out their dreams, which is what it’s about.”
Supporting charities, Third Grade, Hendricks Avenue Elementary School, Jacksonville, FL
About six years ago, Tracy Langley, a Hendricks Avenue Elementary school third grade teacher introduced The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies into her students’ curriculum. The book inspired the students to run their own lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to an agreed upon charity. Since then, the students from Hendricks Avenue Elementary have donated to the Humane Society in Jacksonville, bring clean water to Guatemala, Wolfson Children's Hospital, the American Heart Association, and a Hendricks Avenue Elementary alumnus that suffered a traumatic brain injury. This year, they decided to donate their profits to the Pediatric Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Wolfson's Children's Hospital in memory of a student’s infant brother who recently passed away from a congenital heart defect.
The students completely lead the planning and execution of their lemonade stands. They do the research on charities, create the publicity (signs, fliers, commercials, etc.), and use the tips from The Lemonade War to make their stands unique. They bring in small treats, candy, face painting, music, bubbles, origami, and other items to get customers to choose one stand over another when they run the stands in the school courtyard at the end of the school year.
The lemonade stands are now a project that all of Hendricks Avenue Elementary third graders participate in. The students learn about operating a business and then apply the concepts in practice through project planning, taste testing, and using an expense sheet to calculate the profit earned.