Many young people have had lemonade stands, but Prineville youth Parker Ellis recently took that idea to another level in order to help homeless people in Bend.
Parker, a second grader, attends Bend International School, a charter school in Bend. According to Katie Ellis, Parker's mother, the school focuses on project-based learning. The current project is "What does it mean to be a change maker," and recognizing how to see needs in your community and how to fulfill those needs with the resources you have access to.
Parker commutes from Prineville to Bend each day for school, and he passes behind a homeless camp every day.
"I actually go down this street once I come back home, and there is a bunch of people living in campers next to it," stated Parker.
He decided that this might be a good project for his assignment.
"He saw people living in campers and tents, and not the most ideal living situations, and he was really concerned about how cold they were in the night and how they were keeping warm," added Katie. "He said he wanted to figure out a project he could do to help people like that be warm."
Parker began thinking of what kind of heat sources people use in such situations, and what was the safest way to get funds to them. With some research, he decided the best way was to use NeighborImpact's Energy Assistance program. He then had to think of a way to raise funds and decided on a lemonade stand.
He built the stand with the help of his father, who helped him dismantle a wood pallet to build the lemonade stand. After a suggestion from one of his neighbors, he approached Sammy's Burgers and Shakes to possibly set up his stand in front of their restaurant. He wrote a letter to Sammy, the owner, and went to him and read the letter.
"They brought out a lot of stuff out to help. He also let me take over his lemonade sales for the day," said Parker.
Not only did Sammy Hanson-Fleming, the owner, agree to let him take his lemonade sales for the day, but he also agreed to match whatever proceeds Parker made from the lemonade stand for the day.
"I have never seen so much pride bursting out of Parker when he came home and told me that," exclaimed Katie.
"I've been homeless before, and as a single parent being homeless, I know how hard it really is," commented Hanson-Fleming. "Parker is amazing for what he's doing—so many kids are disrespectful and lazy, and don't have any compassion for others, and that kid has heart of gold."
During the day, Parker's brother, Daegon, stood outside for six hours helping him to sell lemonade. Altogether, 100 lemonades were sold for the day, netting $520.63. With Sammy's Burgers and Shakes committed to matching his sales, at the end of the day, he took home $1,041.25. He and his mother, Katie went to NeighborImpact to donate the money on Thursday.
In conclusion, Katie recalled that at the end of the day, the Domino's driver came driving up and said, "Am I too late?"
"Parker got to give the Domino's delivery driver his 100th glass of lemonade," she concluded.
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