Lemonade stands squeeze out $8,000 for orphans
Julie Forrest fought back tears last month when six young boys got out of their parents' car with plastic bags full of change.
They were spending their allowances on a noble cause: Helping orphans in Ethiopia.
The boys were among more than 300 people who visited a Durham lemonade stand May 17 operated by Forrest's 9-year-old daughter, Ava. The fundraiser brought in $1,800 in three hours.
Customers flocked to the stand to help Ava raise money for Hannah's Hope, an Ethiopian orphanage where her little brother, Judah, lived before the Forrest family adopted him in 2011.
But Ava's lemonade idea went far beyond Durham. Through social media, Ava got the word out, and the nationwide movement called Lemonade for the Least of These ended up raising $8,142 for the orphans.
Forrest said customers of all ages bought lemonade at Ava's stand, including Ava's third-grade teacher and a retired school teacher who gave $100 after seeing a story about the fundraiser in The Herald-Sun.
"We had so many people from our neighborhood, church and readers who saw it in the paper," Forrest said. "I was in shock at how generous people have been."
Other lemonade stand operators from as far as California participated, sending their donations to All God's Children, the agency handling the money. The orphanage is already benefitting, buying toys, food, diapers, and other essentials.
"It's a lot of money here, but in Ethiopia, it will really have an impact," Forrest said.
Ava is excited about how much money came in, but doesn't congratulate herself, Forrrest said.
"She's as cool as a cucumber." she said. "Some girls would be puffed up and feel really good about themselves, but it hasn't affected her that way. She has given all the excitement and attention back to Hannah's Hope. That's really mature for a 9-year-old."
In a brief interview Monday, Ava was modest about what she accomplished, but had one word for the results: "Awesome."