This summer I decided to try this relatively simple project of using a lemonade stand — or Lemon:Aid stand — as an advocacy project for clean water. You charge a buck for a glass of Lemonade, which you then give away to a clean water organization.
Nicely, every cup of lemonade sold equals a year of clean water for someone in Africa.
This minute-long video will give you an idea of how this works through the organization Blood:Water Mission.
An Easy Action Idea for Clean Water
Was a Lemon:Aid stand as easy as that video made it look?
Yes. I paid $2 in shipping for a free Lemon:Aid kit from Blood:water Mission this May. The kit came with posters, signs, bracelets, tattoos, brochures, pictures, and transfers to make a shirts.
All sorts of good stuff. I was inspired. So inspired I even found a yellow piece of sheet foam and made a lemon garland out of it. Sweet!
But I didn’t do the lemon:aid stand; I put it off all summer. . . then I realized there was one week of summer left. Could I do it all fall? Of course. Yet it hit me that I was never going to do this thing unless I did it now!
Truth be told, I was kinda freaking out about the legality if a lemonade stand. You see, I could do it in front of my house, but no one would come except my neighbor’s kids who have no money. Or I could do it on the corner of my street, but in that case I figured I would then be on someone else’s property. Or would that be city land? How much would I have to earn before I had to pay taxes? Could I do business in front of those who live in the corner houses without giving them a cut of the profits? Would people look at me funny with a stink-eye?
Besides, I reasoned, I didn’t have any lemonade.
As I expressed my oh-so-serious concerns to my good friend (whose kids I was hoping to borrow to look a little more legit in selling lemonade on the corner) she was like, “Hey, someone donate a whole bunch of Lemonade!”
Turned out some well-meaning individual had donated four jugs of lemonade to L2F Needs Network, a local organization I helped my friend run. At that time we were just giving kids backpacks of food for their weekend meals, in which lemonade was not the most nutritious addition (and rather heavy).
Just like that, I had lemonade.
Then my friend had to add, “Besides, the worst that can happen is that a policeman will ask you to move.” Good point.
My excuses gone, I was going to do my lemonade stand after all.
Despite I wasn’t about to go to the store to buy lemonade earlier, I decided to go there anyway to buy lemons just for appeal. Fake lemonade with real lemons in it just makes it look more appetizing than sugar-water.
Then after ironing on the cool “Lemon:Aid” transfer onto a shirt which I promptly donned, I was ready to go. Although nervous. Yes, I am a total people person who loves the spotlight, yet for some reason I was still freaked out. At my church we had just been talking about praying for boldness out of Acts 4:28-30.
I made a last valiant effort, breathing “I’m scared, God, help me . . .” and stepped out the front door into the sunlight with a brown bag of signs, tape, lemons, cheap cookies and a large card-table under my other arm. The neighbor kids whom I was really hoping would help me were sitting on the step next door looking busy hanging out. But I asked them to help and set stuff up on the corner and they did!
Sigh. It was all cool after I wasn’t alone anymore.
Getting Kids Passionate About Clean Water
I think getting the kids to be involved and essentially take over was my main goal anyway. I already know people need clean water around the world and without much difficulty can pull $50 from my bank account to help, I was really just want to pass that passion on. Some of these kids were dumbfounded that one glass of sold lemonade could make such a big difference in a person’s life (If you don’t know much about this, check this post out). And while they were learning about this issue while cutting lemons, they were already in the act of doing something tangible about it!
Some of the girls wanted to keep doing the stand all night, amazed by how fun it was and how simple to earn money for something so important. Another was so inspired that she went down to the nearby lake to redirecting those on their evening run to visit our lemonade stand simply because it was for a good cause! She was probably shoving the pamphlet in their faces and totally making them feel obligated to give (I asked her to tone it down a little, although she swore she wasn’t soliciting). Regardless, she brought in about 1/2 of our profits that evening! I was so proud of them all!
Was Doing a Lemon:Aid Stand Worth It?
We were only outside from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on a Friday night, and we made $50. In one sense, that is not a lot of money. But, on the other hand, we basically did no prep work and I only invested about $10 all together. From that, we helped 50 people get water for a year! And I had a bunch of awesome conversations with average suburbanities who actually wanted to know about the water situation in our world. And the teaching the kids . . .
I will not forget how awesome this experience was and I am totally planning on doing this again.
What I’d Do Differently For the Next Lemon:Aid Stand
Although the lemonade business turned out to be fine on a street corner, I would like to advertise this a little more. Maybe ask a business if we could do it at their place, or at least put up posters (which are included in the Lemon:Aid kit) letting people know the when/where.
It would be easy to do the Lemon:Aid stand for a few days in a row, as it is not hard to pack the stuff up and put it out again.
Lastly, I will be sure to not forget about the bag of extra lemons and the rest of the kit tucked away in the corner until “next time,” letting it rot. I have to say, opening that bag a month later, I was almost knocked out with the smell of fuzzy, green mold.
Here’s How to do a Lemonade Stand for Clean Water
I am not going to give you a step-by-step because it is kinda self-explaintory. But here is the necessary information:
You can order a kit here.
You can download a lemonade kit here.
You can now make a fundraising page if you like (although just donating your Lemon:Aid totals to Blood:Water Mission is great as well).
The Walter Project is a cool new option you can combine the Lemon:Aid stand with, helping kids learn about clean water with their church or VBS, sports team or playdate group.
Let us know how your Lemon:Aid stand goes in the comments below!
If you liked this, be sure to get these other ideas from the group advocacy guide below to help you impact the world like you were meant to!
To look at my review of clean water organizations, including Blood:Water Mission click here. Unfortunately, under their most recent Charity Navigator review, Blood:Water only scored one star (they were a four-star organization when I did the Lemon:Aid stand). Considering, you might want to consider doing a lemonade stand for another organization until this changes or look at the specifics of why they were rated lower.
Go to the here, to the Blood:Water Mission website.