SUBMITTED PHOTO - Brayden stands behind his lemonade and berry stand decked out in his cub scout uniform.While many kids are enjoying their summer vacation doing whatever it is kids like to do in their free time, 8-year-old Brayden Arsenault has spent the first couple weeks of freedom a little bit differently — manning his lemonade and berry stand to raise funds for local foster children.

Brayden’s lemonade and berry business began last summer when his grandfather, better known as “Papa,” recommended his grandson, who lives in Wilsonville, collect some of the raspberries from his Canby property with the intent of making some extra money. The original plan was for half of his earnings to go toward a college fund while the other half would be Brayden’s to use for whatever he wanted. Brayden, however, had something else in mind — using his funds to create “welcome boxes” for foster children.

Brayden’s church, Grace Chapel in Wilsonville, serves as a drop-off location for the boxes, which are a part of Embrace Oregon. The boxes include toys, hygiene supplies, clothes and more for foster children who are awaiting their foster care assignment or reassignment.

“These boxes are welcome boxes, so they go to kids that are actually entering foster care,” says Juliana Arsenault, Brayden’s mom. “When kids are taken to (Department of Human Services) a lot of times they don’t get to take anything with them, they’re just pulled from their situation and they have to wait for hours while someone is on the phone trying to find a replacement. So this box gives them something to do right then, and then they can take these things with them to their placement.”

Brayden decided it was such a great cause that he would donate all the money he raised to making the welcome boxes. Starting last summer Brayden spent the majority of weekdays sitting at his stand, serving lemonade for 25 cents and containers filled with berries, which he picked himself with the help of his family, for $3. Because Brayden lives on a cul-de-sac just off Brown Road in Wilsonville, he was prepared for the long haul, not expecting much business right away.

“I kind of just like to meet customers and pour lemonade for the people,” Brayden says. “I wanted to raise money, and I just felt like doing it.”SUBMITTED PHOTO - Brayden collects items like toys and clothes for the foster children welcome boxes.

Wanting to help, Julianna began reaching out to the Wilsonville community through Facebook. After posting on the Villebois page and Wilsonville Women’s page, she says feedback went through the roof. Soon, Brayden’s lemonade and berry stand became one of the most popular stops in all of Wilsonville.

“Last summer when we started this the goal was to fill maybe three or four boxes for the whole summer,” she says. “I started the Facebook advertising for him, posting in different places to explain his stand and his mission, and that brought some customers out who were really excited to help out with the cause.”

After a while Brayden began receiving donations for the boxes in the form of toys and various items, accelerating things well past the original goal. By the end of the summer, Brayden had raised nearly $400, filling a total of 28 boxes to be donated to Embrace Oregon. There were even leftover supplies that Brayden and his family donated directly to a local family.SUBMITTED PHOTO - Picking out the toys is one of Brayden's favorite parts of his ongoing project.

“Last year we got so many donations it was overwhelming,” Juliana says. “We had just boxes and boxes of clothing and toys, and a lot of it was too big to really go in the boxes, so an acquaintance on Facebook linked us up with a foster family she knew of and we were able to take that family boxes of clothing and toys — all the leftover stuff we couldn’t use in the welcome boxes. It was a family that was very deserving, so it was pretty meaningful.”

While most would be satisfied with the impressive results, the success only increased Brayden’s resolve. When school got out this June Brayden immediately got to work preparing for an even more fruitful summer. He had T-shirts (“Brayden’s Berry Stand”) made thanks to an impressed community member, and created an email address so that those hoping to help with the cause can get in touch with him. He opened a special donation bank account for the cause, and even came up with a slogan for his lemonade and berry stand — “Every act of kindness changes the world” — including it on the back of the custom T-shirts he and his family wear while at the stand. SUBMITTED PHOTO - Brayden had custom t-shirts made this year.

And he received even more exciting news when the Boy Scouts of America’s Three Rivers District, where Brayden spends much of his free time as a Cub Scout, posted his story on their website. Brayden received notes from fellow Cub Scouts from as far away as Scotland and Ireland, praising his cause and pledging their desire to start similar projects of their own.

“ ...It’s pretty cool and exciting that they want to copy his same idea but do it in Britain,” Juliana says.

Brayden says his goal for the summer is to top last year’s total of 28 boxes, and he is aiming to fill 40 boxes before berry season ends. While it’s hard work, he says he wouldn’t spend his summer any other way.

“The most important thing to me is helping the foster kids because there’s no one to do it,” he says. “Foster kids will be bored sitting around for hours with nothing to do. Who wants to do that? Everything (about the stand) is really easy, but I would say picking the berries is the hardest part.”SUBMITTED PHOTO - Brayden picks all the berries he sells himself at his grandparent's property in Canby.

He says he plans on spending parts of his summers working on the cause for the foreseeable future, estimating he’ll sell berries and lemonade “until I’m 12 I think.” Until then, he’ll continue raising money and constructing welcome boxes.

“It’s a great thing,” Julianna says. “The Wilsonville community has been great in helping Brayden on his mission.”

Contact Andrew Kilstrom at 503-636-1281 ext. 112 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..