By Mara Certic
When 7-year-old Ellie Rosenwald announced that she wanted to celebrate her next birthday at the animal shelter, her mother, Victoria Flynn, thought it would be a good lesson for her. Little did she know, her daughter would catch the philanthropy bug and just a few months later would single-handedly raise over $500 for the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons in just one day.
“I thought this was a great first introduction to community service,” Ms. Flynn said of her decision to take her oldest child to ARF in Wainscott for a tour.
“We’ve been in the Hamptons for a number of years and I don’t think you can be here without being familiar with ARF. They do a great job,” she added.
During her tour of ARF, Ellie had lots of questions about the different animals and how much it cost to shelter and take care of them. The people working at ARF explained to her where the animals come from, and how they help them at the Wainscott facility.
When they explained that Ellie, too, could get involved, she jumped at the opportunity to set up her first “Lemonarf” stand.
This is the third summer of the “Lemonarf” stand, ARF’s communications director, Jamie Berger, explained this week.
“Kids had been doing their own things for a while, and Lisa McCarthy suggested we facilitate that,” Ms. Berger said on Monday, and so the Lemonarf kit was born. The idea is simple: kits containing official Lemonarf cups, buttons, posters, a minibank, pins, lemonade and cookie recipes are available for free for anyone interested to come pick one up, and children can then use the kits to set up their own lemonade stands, the proceeds of which will go to ARF.
Ms. Berger said fundraising can take any form, adding that in the past kids have used their kits to sell potpourri and homemade bracelets as well as refreshing libations.
“Ellie always hears me and my husband talking about how much stuff we have, and she said, why don’t we also have a yard sale and give the money to the animals,” Ms. Flynn said, and that’s just what they did.
Ellie spent hours making signs and pricing all of her things that she was putting up for sale. “She sat outside the whole time and would not go inside,” Ms. Flynn said. The Lemonarf stand was cunningly set up on the way out of the yard sale, and Ellie would remind everyone as they left that they had forgotten to buy their lemonade.
“It was such a great experience for her, and the people at ARF were so wonderful when we went to give them the money,” Ms. Flynn said. “They asked her a lot of questions, and so she felt a real sense of ownership and responsibility. It was such a great lesson for her, working hard and helping to give back to the community.”
Each year, Lemonarf volunteers raise approximately $5,000 for the organization, and Ellie’s contribution “was definitely up there,” Ms. Berger said.
“It’s definitely something we’ll be doing again next year,” Ms. Flynn said.
For more information about ARF or to pick up your own Lemonarf stand call (631) 537-0400 or visit arfhamptons.org.