A time-old tradition of children making money in the summer with a lemonade stand took on a whole new meaning in Cashiers in the summer of 2015. Summit Charter School student, Chloe Crawford (then age 9), wanted to do something to help her school and decided to start selling lemonade for $1 a glass at her family’s business – the Cashiers Farmers Market. She aptly named her fundraiser “Chloe’s Lemon-aid Stand for Education” and recruited classmates to take a turn operating the stand in July and August before school started.
“When I initially started the lemonade stand, I wasn’t sure what I wanted the money to go to,” said Crawford. “I realized soon after I started the stand that I wanted the money to go to my school! I wanted to give my school all of the money because we needed a gym and high school. Since I spend most of my time at school anyway, I thought it would be a perfect cause to give to.”
As word spread of the fundraiser, residents and businesses began matching the daily number of glasses sold. The lemonade stand raised $44,567 for Summit its first summer. This amount was matched by donors and the stand ended up netting $100,000 for Summit in 2015. Word got out about Summit as the stand was featured in Cashiers and beyond, including WLOS, Fox & Friends, and CNN.
“When we just started the stand, it was small and we were happy to get around 50 customers a day,” said Crawford. “Now it is much bigger and everyone in town is looking forward to the lemonade stand coming back and they can’t wait to come and get a glass. People are always talking about how they love the lemonade stand and its cause.”
Chloe’s Lemon-aid Stand for Education returned for another year in 2016 and over 80% of students worked the stand and numerous parents volunteered their time to help as well. With the combined 2015 and 2016 summer seasons, the stand raised enough funds to fuel the dream of a high school, gym and performing arts center. A Capital Campaign, led by Foundation Board Member Linda Quick, commenced and was a success.
Four years later, each facility is complete or underway and now Summit is tasked with raising operating funds to maintain the new buildings and sustain Summit’s educational programs. The result? Chloe, now a rising eighth-grader, decided to bring back the stand this summer to help her school once again.
“Just like before, we are asking for help from the community in two ways,” said Crawford. “First, we are looking for businesses or individual sponsors to match our sales for each day before the start of school. Next, please come visit us and buy a glass of lemonade! We want as many people as possible to visit the stand. It’s still delicious and only $1 per cup.”
Interested sponsors can commit to a match HERE or stop by the lemonade stand at the Farmers Market to submit a pledge. Many local businesses have already signed up, such as Zoller Hardware, Sweetwater Builders, The Village Hound, Brookings Anglers, Keystone Kitchen & Bath and many more. Individual donors are contributing as well.
Chloe’s father, Josh Crawford, said he is incredibly proud of her.
“We received a lot of recognition when Chloe first started the lemonade stand in 2015, but nothing compares to what I am witnessing today,” said Josh. “Not only is Chloe stepping up to support her school once again, but she is also taking a managerial role with the stand. This is a very proud moment for me as a parent. Our customers at the market are thrilled to see the stand’s revival and it is a fun way to bring our school community together as well.”
Chloe’s Lemon-aid Stand for Education will be open until August 18, 2019, at the Farmers Market on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Maintaining these hours is a tall order for an 8th grader.
“It can be a lot of work to run the stand,” said Chloe. “I had to call all of the summit parents to see if their child would like to participate by working the stand one day this summer. Even though it’s a lot of work I enjoy running the stand and I’m glad that I can be helping my school. It feels great to be helping my school! The school has done so much for me and I love giving back to them.”
Chloe isn’t running her lemonade operation single-handedly, she has a network of friends and family who all chip in to work shifts.
“I feel really inspired by her,” said friend and fellow-stand operator Caroline Woods. “She didn’t have to do this, but she did it to benefit her classmates. I think she really helped put Summit on the map. Now she has lots of sponsors and people know about us and want to help.”
The amount raised will be announced at the school’s first Friday Round-up Assembly on August 23. It will also be the first Round-up under the leadership of Kurt Pusch, Summit’s new school director. Pusch joins Summit from KIPP Colorado Schools in Denver, Colorado. He now resides in Cashiers with his wife M.C. and four children.
“Much of what drew me to Summit was the school’s emphasis on values, character, and community,” shares Pusch. “In my first week as Summit’s director, I have seen these ideals reflected clearly through Chloe’s Lemon-aid Stand for Education. The many students, families, and community members who have come together to support our school through this tradition is inspiring and will make a meaningful impact in the education of our students.”
Pictured at the top of the article from left are Chloe Crawford and Caroline Woods selling lemonade at the Cashiers Farmer’s Market.