When Life Hands You Lemons…

You make lemonade, of course.

But if you’re a true entrepeneur, capitalist, or overachiever, you then sell that sweet-tangy nectar at your very own lemonade stand!

This summer, as part of our Brownie program for Girl Scouts, our troop was supposed to choose a project to make our community a better place.  Note the use of the singular adjective: A project.  One.  Majority rules.

Our troop, however, could not decide on a project.  No, all seven of our girls each voted for a different project.  So we ended up with no majority.  And you know what that means to an overachiever like me.  Yep, we’re doing all seven.   One per month for the entire school year.  Because that’s how we roll.

So each girl now gets to take the lead role in organizing and carrying out her chosen service project.  Crisana’s was to help the Samaritan Inn, Collin County’s only homeless shelter.  We drove by the Samaritan Inn regularly on our way to swim lessons this summer, and we could see the number of people waiting, even in the midst of the brutal heat, to get inside.  We heard about the overcrowding, the large numbers of children who were living there, and the way the Inn’s meager resources were being taxed trying to meet the needs of the most desperate in our community.  Crisana decided she wanted to help.  She contacted the Inn and spoke with one of the coordinators there to determine how our group of third-grade girls could make an impact.

Toilet paper and paper towels was the answer.

But I wanted this to be more than just having the girls ask their parents for money to buy toilet paper and paper towels.  I wanted the girls to have some sort of investment, to make some sort of sacrifice or effort to participate.  I wanted this to mean something to them.  I wanted them to give, not just physically but emotionally as well.

And so was born Crisana’s lemonade stand.

She sent out an email to the neighborhood advertising her stand this past Saturday and Sunday.  She spread the word through my facebook account and even sent an email to the principal at McGowen asking for permission to collect donations there.  She decided to sell lemonade and cookies, and to use the profits to purchase the needed supplies for the Samaritan Inn.  She set to work, making her sign, putting a tub out on our doorstep for donations, and squeezing lots and lots of lemons.  With a little help from mom and a few friends, she made 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies, 8 dozen sugar cookies (4 of which she frosted and decorated with a single candy corn), and 8 dozen oatmeal raisin cookies.  She bagged them in individual baggies and made nearly 6 gallons of fresh-squeezed lemonade.

And then we dragged it all down to the corner and set up shop.

One of her Brownie troop-mates joined us for the sale on Saturday, as well as a neighbor friend who is a Girl Scout Junior.  Thanks to a neighbor, we enjoyed shade from the brutal sun both days.  Thanks to other neighborhood children, we also enjoyed a nearly constant stream of customers and activity throughout the two-day event.

When it was all said and done, the pitchers were washed and the trash was bagged up and the cookies were eaten and the money was counted…we learned that she had earned a whopping $195.50.  That’ll buy a lot of toilet paper.

All because a little girl had a dream…had a passion…had a heart…and a lot of help.

I think we’ve already succeeded in making our community a better place.