Thomas Island youth launch 'sweet' campaign for those in need
What do you get when you combine a group of kids with big hearts, a good old-fashioned American beverage, and a worthy cause that provides blessings to those in need? A “sweet” project that could touch the lives of thousands of children all over the world. At least that’s the hope behind Operation LemonAID (OLA), a grassroots effort that started in the driveway of a Thomas Island family’s home in 2012.
What began as a simple lemonade stand hosted by sisters Anna and Tracy Musselwhite to benefit Operation Christmas Child has blossomed into a much bigger endeavor. Over the last five years, the girls have raised more than $4000 through their efforts, with help from their church, Hibben United Methodist. But they have set their sights on a new, even more impressive goal. Anna and Tracy, and their dedicated team of OLA volunteers, are calling their new campaign “50-50-50,” which translates to 50 cents per cup of lemonade, 50 lemonade stands all over the country, and $50,000 raised in support of Operation Christmas Child.
Anna and Tracy appeared on ABC News 4’s Lowcountry Live last week to talk about their latest endeavor and they are slated to head down to Orlando, Florida, soon to speak about the project for Christian broadcasters.
“To me, it means more than raising money,” said Anna, referencing the new campaign. “It’s the fact that knowing other kids in the world are benefiting from what we are doing…It would mean the world, that enough people cared enough to take time out of their day and help support us.”
The OLA team already has three states participating in the effort and they are working on adding many more. They have put together helpful kits to guide participants on how to set up lemonade stands in support of the project. All proceeds benefit Operation Christmas Child, a Christian program run by Samaritan’s Purse that sends gift packages with messages of faith to children in need in more than 100 countries across the globe. The OLA contributions will be put towards shipping costs.
“My favorite part about doing OLA is knowing that we are spreading the word of Christ to kids in other countries,” added Tracy. “Kids who are less fortunate than us open the shoeboxes and are so happy that they know that other people care for them and love them. They know that God will always be with them and love them.”
Other members of the Thomas Island-based OLA team agree.
“It’s just being nice to other people and helping them,” said Sarver Adams, 13.
“I think it’s really exciting,” added Samantha Brown, 12. “I like to do this because we have a lot and these other people don’t. So we want to help them.”
And when it comes to hitting their $50,000 fundraising milestone, the team is confident they can get the job done.
“I think we can if we put a lot of effort into it!” said Sage Adams, another member of the OLA crew. “If we meet our 50-50-50 goals, we’re probably all gonna be screaming!”
To support the effort locally, make plans to visit the group’s Operation LemonAID stand on Aug. 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hibben United Methodist Church. To donate online, or for more information about setting up a lemonade stand in support of the 50-50-50 campaign, visit https://www.classy.org/fundraise/team?ftid=122493.