WINDSOR, Conn. — Twelve kids from Windsor raised more than $4,000 Monday through a lemonade stand on Broad Street with the goal of helping Ukrainian refugees. Around $1,400 came specifically from the stand while the rest was from sponsors.
The children, up to 6-years-old, learned about the war in school, parents say. At home, they try to make sure the children understand while not showing them the graphic nature of war.
“We’ve briefly explained to them what’s going on, how people are being hurt, how people are losing everything that they have,” Kelsey Nickerson, a mother of three school-aged boys said. “We’ve explained that everyone can do something.”
The war is now in week nine. For many Connecticut students, this week is spring break. These families saw an opportunity to help others with their free time.
The Bean @226 on Broad Street let them set up shop out front. Owner Melissa Madigan says it’s a positive thing seeing them want to help others. She says customers were donating this weekend at the café.
“Windsor just screams community,” she said. “You feel so far away to be able to do anything so to be able to help in some way.”
They held another stand in Mar. where they raised more than $300. The money helps purchase supplies to fill backpacks with things like coloring books, stuffed animals, and other toys for kids. It is also used to purchase items like underwear and socks.
They’re working with a teacher in Poland to learn what items are needed by the refugees. They have already shipped about 30 backpacks to the country. Any extra money is also donated to charity.
“I’m hoping it’ll make a huge difference for them and they’ll see that a whole town cares,” parent Leah Perez said. “It definitely makes me proud.”
For the kids, they say they feel “happy.”
Ariana Perez is in the first grade at Poquonock School. She said this is something she’s wanted to do for a while.
“I’ve always wanted to do a lemonade stand and doing a lemonade stand is fun and also helping people is fun and it feels good,” she said.
They also gave kids a chance to write a note or draw a picture to send to the refugees.
Customers were grateful they could help out in their own town.
“I think it’s absolutely important that they know exactly what’s going on,” Kazimir McDougald Sr. said. “Made sure we made our donation, but just let them know that we’re supporting as well.”
Sarah Maltese said as an educator, she thinks getting children involved in the community is huge.
“I think it’s great that our community is trying to support them and. even though we’re so far away, there’s still so much we can do to try and help them,” she said.
People also transferred money to the cause if they were not going to make it to the stand.
Nickerson said they hope the community support rewards the kids for their efforts.
“It’s so special that they wanted to come together and do this. It’s so special that none of them have asked for a penny to go into their pockets. They understand that they have toys, they have a house and they want to send it to kids that don’t,” she said.
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