“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” the proverb suggests. A Methow Valley youngster took that advice to heart but gave it a charitable twist: “When life [or Russia] gives the children of Ukraine lemons, make ‘lemon-aid.’”
Second-grader Huxley Walker was inspired by a fundraising idea in “The Week Junior,” a news magazine for kids. Assembling a team of second- and sixth-graders, including his sister Elaine, Huxley organized a pop-up lemonade stand. The students (Leonel Pacheco, Dylan and Maren Sands, Ryker Downing, Sammy DeSalvo and both Walker kids) made signs featuring the Ukrainian flag and the slogan “Stop the pain, donate to Ukraine.”
At first they set up at Confluence Park in Winthrop, bu
t foot traffic was pretty slow and “despite the enjoyment of some soccer on the grass behind the stand we decided to relocate,” Huxley’s mom, Liz Walker, told me. “All those Zumiez at the Winthrop Barn and park were an attractive target,” she said, “but after driving into the Barn parking lot we couldn’t see a way to offer them refreshment that wouldn’t have also felt disruptive.”
Methow Valley Thriftway, however, gave the lemon-aid team the green light (or the yellow-plus-blue light of the Ukrainian flag?) and over the next few hours, Liz says that the kids “enthusiastically shouted down anyone trying to enter the store.” (“Impossible-to-ignore-cacophony is not a fundraising strategy I was familiar with,” Liz says, “but I may try it for my next Clean Air Methow effort as they were wildly successful.”)
The selling of 180 ounces of lemonade resulted in $430 in lemon-aid to benefit the children of Ukraine through UNICEF’s Ukraine campaign, including the funds of one generous resident who threw down $100 without even drinking a glass of juice. Liz says she was brought to tears as they counted the money at home and again “on the UNICEF campaign web page where I made our donation thinking of our incredible happenstance fortune, and the hope that these globally-minded compassionate kids represent.”
Liz says she learned from Sarah Brooks that “fundraising is connecting a potential donor with an opportunity to bring their value and vision for the world into being” and that “this wisdom was reflected in every adult’s face as they filled the kids’ glass jar to overflowing.”
You can donate to the UNICEF fund for Ukrainian children here: www.unicefusa.org/war-ukraine. Funds are used to support humanitarian work in Ukraine focused on safety, health care, safe water and nutrition and protection, among other things.