When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
But in Niagara-on-the-Lake, if you have lemonade, you can send kids to camp.
Children across Niagara-on-the-Lake camped out in lemonade stands Saturday afternoon to help underprivileged children attend summer camp.
The Fundraiser, run by Family and Children’s Services Niagara and sponsored by Mountainview Building Group got its official start date last year as Mountainview LemonAID Day.
Families who sign up for the fundraiser are provided with booths, shirts and hats with the LemonAID Day logo and everything they need to make lemonade.
Caroline Polgrabia, president of Family and Children’s Services Niagara, said she believes it can be an annual fundraiser.
“I think we got a winner. I think it’s gonna stick around,” Polgrabia said.
There were about 100 stands across Niagara on Saturday, five of which were in NOTL.
“I think the beauty of this fundraiser is it’s going to be new kids every year,” Polgrabia said, pointing out that as the kids who sell lemonade age out, new ones will take their place.
She gives most of the credit to her 13-year-old son Jayden though, who came up with the fundraising idea in 2018.
“I was the one that started the stand,” Jayden told The Lake Report at a lemonade stand on King Street, though he acknowledged his mom had a hand in making his idea a reality.
Polgrabia said her son met a boy at camp last year who told him the only reason he was able to go was because he was sponsored.
She said it was “a very real experience” for her son to see the actual impact of the work he’s been doing.
“I kind of felt good about it,” Jayden said while taking a short break from serving lemonade.
For Jayden, there’s something wrong when a child can’t go to camp.
“It makes me feel like there’s a piece missing from a kid’s childhood,” he said.
When The Lake Report stopped by, Jayden and his friend Akeem Fletcher had raised about $350 to send kids to camp.
The boys were stoked that their friends one street over had only made $160 at their stand.
At the stand on Victoria Street, four girls were hard at work pouring lemonade.
Bianca Pontsioen, 12, kicked back in the shade while her sister Ava poured lemonade with Olivia and Emily Ferguson and Polgrabia’s daughter, Kaitlyn.
Bianca said her favourite part about camp was all the friends she made along the way.
Her sister Ava agreed.
Polgrabia said the fundraiser had raked in about $40,000 going into the weekend.
That’s almost half of the $86,000 raised in last year’s fundraiser.
To date, this year’s campaign boasts about $57,000 in funds raised but will continue to accept contributions until July 1.