By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The next time you see kids selling lemonade from a small wooden stand on the sidewalk don’t ignore them and walk by, even if you aren’t thirsty. The kids just might be hawking lemonade for a good cause.
Lemonade stands will be set up all across the country, including in Park Slope, for three days in early June as part of a fundraising drive for a childhood cancer foundation. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for all kids with cancer, will hold fundraiser June 7-9. One of the lemonade stands will be located at 1320 Eighth Ave. in Park Slope.
The Pennsylvania-based foundation was started by the late Alexandra “Alex” Scott, a cancer victim who died in 2004 at the age of eight. During her brave battle with cancer, Alex set a goal of raising $1 million for pediatric cancer research. Alex set up a lemonade stand and invited volunteers from across the country to do the same. Her goal was reached.
Each June, on the weekend before Father’s Day, Alex’s mission of raising $1 million continues through the foundation’s National Lemonade Days fundraising effort.
This year, the foundation is getting help from high-profile chefs. Food Network stars and moms Melissa d’Arabian and Alex Guarnaschelli will support the Lemonade Days fundraiser by providing kid-friendly recipes and tips to volunteers who sign up to host a lemonade stand during the initiative.
Both women said they were inspired by Alex’s story.
Melissa d’Arabian, star of the Food Network show “Ten Dollar Dinners,” grew up in hot and dry Tucson, and considers herself is a lemonade stand expert, having held numerous stands with her sister growing up. More recently, her family has felt the effects of childhood cancer personally, when a young first grader in their community lost his life to the disease. “Last year, our school lost a first-grade hero to cancer, bringing the whole community together,” said d’Arabian. “About the same time this child was lost, my four daughters squeezed their own lemons, giving away lemonade with a donation jar for charity. Their generosity inspired me to get involved in a bigger way with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, combining our celebration of our local hero’s life with my daughters’ mad lemonade-making skills,” she said.
Alex Guarnaschelli recently won Food Network’s “Next Iron Chef: Redemption”and is a regular judge on the primetime show “Chopped.” She will provide a recipe for lemon lime lemonade and a pairing of ginger cookies. With a five-year-old daughter of her own, Guarnaschelli said she was inspired to join the movement after hearing of the journey of Alex’s parents with their daughter.
“I have a daughter who has taught me a lot along the way. She is only five, but she is a powerful little human,” Guarnaschelli said. “It stuns me how effective children can be in their messaging and I believe that every child should enjoy that basic right to become an adult. Getting rid of childhood cancers is one effective way to reach that goal,” she said.
During National Lemonade Days, the foundation offers support to all volunteers who sign up to host lemonade stands. In addition to having access to a member of the Foundation’s staff to help with any lemonade stand needs, Lemonade Days participants also receive a limited edition box while supplies last. The box consists of materials to assist in the fundraising process including a banner, thank you notes, stickers, balloons, posters, and a pre-paid return envelope for proceeds.
For more information on National Lemonade Days, or to sign up to host a lemonade stand and receive the recipes and tips from d’Arabian and Guarnaschelli, visit http://www.alexslemonade.org/