Jaime Eckler, 8
Jaime and Alexandra's Lemonade Stand
Lemonade stands used to be an easy way for kids to pad their summer allowances. Now they've become charity fundraising powerhouses, thanks to the efforts of a few enterprising young girls. Jaime Eckler and her five-year-old sister Alexandra are getting ready for their fourth annual Lemonade Stand, a carnival-themed extravaganza and auction set for June 23 at Woburn Park in Toronto (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). With a bevy of sponsors, including the Jane Goodall Institute, the Ecklers are raising money for Eva's Initiatives, which provides homeless and at-risk youth with housing, job training and support. Jaime has been helping the homeless since age 4, since she first handed an apple to a man under the Gardiner Expressway, and has since raised $8,000 in donations to charities for the homeless. This year will be the biggest yet – the sisters are hoping for $8,000 more. Jaime spoke to The Globe.
We've done three lemonade stands before this one. I don't remember the first one 'cause it was a long time ago, but I think we sold lemonade and cookies at the end of our driveway. The second year had an art theme, and the third one was about recycled art, and now we're doing a carnival theme. There's going to be a bouncy castle, and games, and we're having an auction for these four giant stuffed bears.
I want to help the homeless because it's not fair that they don't have a home, and they're really sad. We want them to have a great life.
What we do
Alexandra and I will be walking around checking the games and making sure that everything's okay. We're gonna have like 10 different booths and sell tickets to play. For the little kids, we'll have a pool with duckies that have matching shapes on the bottom. And we're also doing a thing called the human canvas, where there's a man in a bathing suit and you paint all over him, and then you wash him off and paint him again. And we're gonna have hula hoops and a potato sack race, and a bunch of other stuff but we haven't decided yet.
Amanda [Belzowski, founder of Amanda's Lemonade Stand and fundraiser for pediatric cardiac research] Because of her, we decided to do the same thing, because I care about the homeless and I want to help them.
Other than lemonade, we're going to have cotton candy and corn on the cob for sale, and the man who sells the corn actually asked some of the homeless youth to work for his company.
What keeps you going?
One time we went down to Eva's Initiatives and I met one of the homeless people there. I have this little booklet that they sent me in the mail, and it has all the homeless youths' stories in them, and their names. So we're giving all the money to them.
This interview has been condensed and edited. Send suggestions for the Action Figure to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special to The Globe and Mail