Lemonade Stand with a Difference

It started small.  A project in which to funnel the energy of some nine to twelve-year-olds as the restrictions of social distancing began to wear.  The four siblings built the lemonade stand and fine-tuned the 4 P’s of their marketing strategy.  The lemonade recipe was tweaked and the freezies sourced; the price allowed customers to relieve themselves of coins which had abruptly been rendered undesirable by other retailers; the place is around the corner from the main street and strategically located near the kitchen where supplies can be replenished; and the promotion began with a cardboard Lemon costume which other children were eager to wear.

Then the foursome began to have customers, and revenue.  As the intent was not to profit financially, the first week the young entrepreneurs sought a worthy recipient for the fruits of their endeavours and decided to donate the $53 they had earned to PRHC.  But soon, they found a cause closer to home.

In the first week of June, they learned that a local minor hockey player and Millbrook South Cavan student, Kieran Osborne, had been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and had begun treatment at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.  Minor hockey members started a GoFundMe page to purchase two iPads to allow the eleven year old to stay in touch with his family and friends while he was undergoing treatment.  A poster went up on the stand, explaining that Kieran would be the new recipient of lemonade sale proceeds.  A few days later, news arrived that another Millbrook hockey player was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a slightly different form of cancer, which required another poster.  Revenue is now directed to the GoFundMe campaigns for Kieran and Connor who for the next two years, will be making frequent trips to Toronto to fight with their invisible foes.   Fundraising will help their families deal with some of the travel and other expenses ahead.

Word about the lemonade stand and its beneficiaries travelled quickly through social media.  On June 16th, six hydro trucks arrived around lunch time for some refreshments, contributing $400 to the cause.  They were followed by local teachers, neighbours and friends until the donation box had to be switched out for a large mixing bowl to accommodate the cash. At the end of the day, there was almost $1000 in the bowl.

The support continued the next day, when a member of the artillery division of the Canadian Armed Forces reached out with another significant donation, bringing $1000 collected from their division.

The enterprise began as a type of pop-up kiosk, and as such has hours that are subject to change, and are a function of variables including the weather, the traffic and the energy levels of its operators and their support staff.  The highest probability of finding it open falls on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday between 3:30 and 5pm.

This has been an incredible lesson for the kids and the community and one more example of the generosity of our community.

Should these students return to the classroom this fall, they will have an incredible story to tell as they share their experience in the traditional icebreaking opener on the first day of school as students share the story “How I Spent my Summer Vacation”. KG

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