Setting up a lemonade stand on a hot summer day is a rite of passage for many children. But two Edmonton girls have done a lot more than collect pocket change from passing neighbours – in fact, they have raised $32,000 for the Stollery Children’s Hospital over the past six years.
“We know that people in the Stollery need just a little help,” 11-year-old Sydney Woodworth said when explaining how the stand got started.
Sydney and her sister Taylor were just four and eight when they started their annual fundraiser to honour a classmate.
Sydney was in kindergarten when fellow student Moses Felix died of leukemia. The girls got to talking at the dinner table about what happened with their mom Lisa. A discussion about life and death led to the idea of a lemonade stand fundraiser to help other sick kids.
The sister’s week-long fundraiser raised $250 in their first year. The amount doubled the next year. And then doubled again. As word spread the amount kept growing.
Last year, the Woodworth’s fundraiser brought in $16,000 – this year’s goal is $18,000. They are well on their way – the girls started out the week with a $3,000 donation from a sponsor, and as of Wednesday evening had brought in $7,325, thanks to corporate and community donations.
Their mom struggled to find the right words to describe how proud she is of her daughters. A few years ago on the first day of school, Lisa Woodworth approached Moses Felix’s mom.
“If it was me, I would want to know,” she said, explaining that the two didn’t talk much – because they didn’t have to. A hug said it all.
The girls, now 11 and 15, set up their stand at the Namao Sobey’s ( 9611 167 Ave NW), selling lemonade, iced tea, snow cones, popcorn, hot dogs, and other treats. A glass of lemonade is just a dollar. They also have a ring toss, with winners entered into a draw for Oilers tickets and a $200 gift card.
The lemonade stand is open every day, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., until August 21.
The fundraiser has grown beyond loonies and toonies – although those are still accepted – and now collects online donations.
“It’s heartwarming and it’s overwhelming, how easy it is to give back,” Taylor said. “Our main motto is, ‘kids helping kids.’ We started off our first year with only $250 being raised, and now our goal is $18,000 so we just want to let everyone know how easy it is give back to your community.”
Tannis Peterkin with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation said the girl are making a difference for the kids who use the hospital.
“Everything that they have done in the last seven years goes towards making the hospital an excellent hospital. So that’s through programs, attracting the best people, research, equipment. So it’s making sure the kids in western Canada have the best healthcare options possible.
Taylor and Sydney are the top fundraisers for the Stollery’s Superstars program, a newly-created initiative which recognizes kids who raise money for the Edmonton children’s hospital. In the past year, kids alone have raised over $315,000 for the Stollery.