Take a Stand: Tips to Help Kids Raise Money Through Food/Drink

You may have heard of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  A little girl named Alex was diagnosed with cancer when she was 1 year old. When she was four years old, Alex asked her mom if she could have a lemonade stand to raise money for “her hospital”.  Her legacy lives on as lemonade stands all  over the country continue to support her pediatric cancer foundation to the tune of $100 million as of January 1, 2015.  How cool is that?!

My kids and friends wanted to make cookies and sell them at a stand at the park.  They’ve done lemonade stands but they wanted to make cookies all by themselves (for the first time) and then raise money to give to The Milo Foundation, a Bay Area dog and cat rescue group.  How could I say no to that?  Of course we were going there for the third time that week to try to adopt a dog.  The kids raised $19 and gave it to the foundation.  Ironically we didn’t find a dog there, but a few days later at the Marin Humane Society.  Guess we know where the next stand money will go.

Here are some steps to help you create a stand and raise money for something you or your kids believe in…

1. Make excellent homemade product.  If it’s lemonade squeeze it yourself.  If it’s cookies make them from scratch.  Store bought is not an option.  My kids made the recipe from the bag of the chocolate chip bag with some added sprinkles.  It doesn’t need to be fancy.  Here’s a lemonade recipe.

Lemonade

(Makes 3 ½ cups)

½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, juice from about 4 lemons

½ cup sugar

1 ½ cups water, divided

Heat sugar and ½ cup water over medium heat in a small saucepan.  Stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.  This is simple syrup.  Combine lemon juice, simple syrup and additional cup of water to taste.

Chill in thermos for easy packing or plastic pitcher, if location is a short walk.

Pour over ice in plastic or paper cups.

2. Create fun signs.  Kids can get really creative with this one.

3. Set up shop with friends and family to help.

4. Choose a location with lots of people.  Think parks, game fields, school.

5. Set a fair price or simply ask for a donation for each cup. (*You’ll make more $ by asking for a donation.)

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Friends and Lemonade – A Perfect Combo

 

My daughter had a friend over on a sunny afternoon and the first thing they wanted to do was set up a lemonade stand.  I was a bit taken back.  I’ve never done this before as an adult.  It seemed this needed some planning and lemons.  Hmmmmm… well I had 5 lemons.  So I said we could make a small pitcher.  (and I don’t have a plastic one).  I got to work on the simple syrup.  I realize not everyone does it like this, but this was the part that I knew and was easy for me.  Actually my daughter went to her first lemonade stand where the lemonade was from a carton.  (I told myself it didn’t matter as long as they had fun)  But certainly if I’m the mom of the stand, we’re going to make it.  The girls then remembered some chocolate chip muffins I had made the day before and asked if they could sell those too.  They sure were entrepreneurial!

squeeeeeeeeze!more squeeeezing

 

The girls made signs and talked price.  I overheard $1 per item and I suggested it be $1 for a combo muffin and lemonade but only fifty cents on their own.  They were ok with that.  Here’s where I felt a struggle.  You want the lemonade stand to be cute and genuine, not greedy.  It was coming together and my first timer stress was relieved.

Did I mention we live at the end of a steep shared driveway?  I think this is why the idea for the stand was stressful for me too.  We decided we’d have to locate it down the drive and at the park.  It was a lovely day and we thought this might actually mean a few customers and traffic.  It took my husband and I and the girls to haul all the stand items to the park.  There was a plastic tub to set the sale items ( I guess the actual “stand”).  The pitcher.  Glass at that.  Note to self – buy plastic pitcher for next time.  Muffin tray.  Tea towel. Plastic cups.   Again I didn’t have throw away,  so I instructed the girls to please have them returned.

 

The girls set everything up and after about five minutes left dad in charge and they were going to recruit people to come over from the playground.  I went back up to get a change box and when I returned my husband was at the stand and the girls were playing on the swings at the park.  I didn’t have high hopes for the endeavor and my husband had things under control so I left for an errand.

 

I was very surprised to come home and find everything back home with only a few muffins left and an empty pitcher.  They made $5 total and split the profits (the girls, not my husband).  Apparently there were customers and the girls got busy.  I think it was a success!  The girls had fun, my husband spent some time in the sunshine and we have simple syrup ready for the next lemonade stand request.  Just have to remember those lemons…

 

 

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