By Peter St. Onge, The Charlotte Observer
We wanted lemonade, and we got something sweeter.
Last week, the Observer asked you to tell us about lemonade stands your children were operating for charity. You sent enough of those to make us very thirsty, but also stories of neighborhood carnivals, bake sales, yard sales – all held by kids, and often for kids' charities.
Now, the Observer and our media partners at Charlotte Mission Possible have an idea: With children's agencies and programs among the hardest hit by United Way cuts, let's invite our area's kids to raise money for those charities.
We're calling it the Lemonade Brigade.
Here's how it works: Tell us about a lemonade stand you're planning, and we'll give parched readers a nudge your way by publicizing your stand's location in the Observer and on CharlotteObserver.com.
When you're through, send us pictures (or, if you're ambitious, a YouTube video link), and we'll publish them, too, along with how much money your children raised and which agency they'll be giving it to. A few suggestions, if you need one: Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte, A Child's Place, Salvation Army's Boys and Girls Clubs of Charlotte.
If you'd like to download the Charlotte Mission Possible logo to attach to your child's stand, go to The Cliff blog on CharlotteObserver.com.
If a lemonade stand is not your thing, tell us about whatever money-raising effort you might want to try. Perhaps it's a bake sale/yard sale, which is what 5-year-old AnneLeigh Twer included with her South Charlotte lemonade stand for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Maybe it's collecting money for birdies, which is what Huntersville's Garrett Ray decided he'd try. He's a junior golfer, and he's signing people up to donate money for each birdie he makes in June and July tournaments, with the money going toward breast cancer research, in honor of a cousin who was diagnosed with the disease last year.
At the St. Onge house in the University area, our 8- and 5-year-old sons will be operating a lemonade stand next week. Nothing fancy – just a table, some cups, and good lessons about giving. They're being learned across Charlotte each week.
On Saturday, the Montana family – including 10-year-old Katie, 8-year-old Max and 2-year-old Rose – ran a lemonade stand in Myers Park. They raised $25 for Loaves & Fishes, which they visited earlier in the week. That total will buy groceries for 33 meals for families in crisis.
“I think they know they're very lucky,” said Karen Montana of her three children. “They learned that helping isn't hard, but that it's very important.”
We'll lift a plastic cup to that. Won't you? It's a hot, holiday week. People are thirsty. Start squeezing.