TORONTO — Many kids start lemonade stands, but the difference is that Amanda Belzowski and Jaime and Alexandra Eckler contribute the funds they raise to good causes.
Alexandra, left, and Jaime Eckler
Amanda’s Lemonade Stand started when she was two years old. The 13-year-old has now passed it on to her five-year-old brother, Joshua, who raised $9,000 in his first year. She is now running Lemon-stock, an event that will feature a battle of the bands and Canadian singer Danny Fernandes, who’s won two Rising Star awards in the Canadian National Exhibition dance contest. Lemon-stock takes place on June 26, and Amanda said it will be successful because it’s fun for her and other kids her age.
“You can make a difference as long as you’re doing something you love,” she said.
Amanda said one of the best parts about running her lemonade stand for so many years was having kids come up to her and say she inspired them to get involved. She said that she wanted others to experience the feeling she gets from giving back.
“You’re never too little to make a big difference,” Amanda said.
Jaime was one of the kids inspired by Amanda’s Lemonade Stand. When she went to the stand with her mother, Sharon Zohar, she asked if she could start one of her own with her sister. She wanted the proceeds to go to the homeless. Zohar said that Jaime has always been very sensitive to the difficulties of the homeless, and she thought that her wish that people would no longer be homeless would never come true.
“I told her that it starts with wishes, and it continues with doing actions,” Zohar said.
This will be the third annual Lemonade and Recycle Art Show for Jaime and Alexandra. Last year, they raised about $3,500 for Raising the Roof, a charity dedicated to finding long-term solutions to homelessness. This year, Zohar hopes that their event on June 5 raises $5,000 for Eva’s Initiatives, a Toronto youth shelter that houses 114 young people each night. The event will be held in Woburn Park in Toronto from 1 to 4 p.m. Jaime said that she hopes this year’s event is fun for everyone.
“I like to see the smiles on peoples’ faces,” she said.
The money Amanda makes at Lemon-stock will go to three separate charities this year, and she’s looking for a company to match that donation. She will donate the proceeds to Soles for Souls, which provides shoes for children who can’t afford them, the Hospital for Sick Children and Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli charity that provides heart surgeries and followup care for children in developing countries.
She said she hopes that her Lemon-stock event will inspire other children to get involved because that will help make a big difference in the world.
“If you can inspire one child, that brings with them a whole family that supports them,” Amanda said.
Although Jaime and Alexandra are only seven and five years old, Zohar said that they will gradually take on more of the responsibility for the event. She said that they are already inspiring their friends, which makes them enthusiastic about the event every year.
“Slowly, I’ll pass more of the baton on to them,” Zohar said. “I want this to be something that’s important for them to continue.”
Zohar added that they are getting the homeless youths from Eva’s Initiative involved in the event. Zohar and her children taught them how to make art with recycled materials, and the youths will have the opportunity to sell the artwork at the event.
Amanda also hopes to get people involved in her Lemon-stock event. “Anyone from one years old to 100 years old can get involved,” she said.
Amanda added that she hoped Lemon-stock would be an annual event that will bring people together. Zohar has similar hopes for Jaime and Alexandra’s lemonade stand.
“Lemonade stands are a universal way to bring a community together,” Zohar said.
For more information about Lemon-stock, go to lemonade4heart.org. To learn more about Eva’s Initiatives, go to www.evasinitiatives.com.