Girls raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

by: VERN UYETAKE - West Linn girls, Emery Johnston, 10, Halle Beck, 8, and Bridget Johnston, 8, sold lemonade and bracelets for the Red Cross.  The efforts of three West Linn girls may soon remind the community — especially in this season of giving — that charitable acts, no matter how small, do not go unnoticed.

This summer, 10-year-old Emery Johnston and 8-year-olds Bridget Johnston and Halle Beck set out to sell lemonade in their neighborhood. The trio built a roadside stand comprised of a small wooden table, a toy cash register and chairs to sell their wares.

Sometimes they sold strawberry and raspberry lemonade. Sometimes they sold handmade bracelets — the beads, woven pipe cleaners and string was leftover from previous birthday parties. The girls sold 50-cent bracelets and 25-cent bookmarks. A full glass of lemonade was a dollar, a half glass just 50 cents.

Some days they waited in sunshine, some days they waited in hail and rain. In the end the girls raised $35 — their biggest single donation was $5 — but the girls chose not to keep the money.

“We just wanted to do something different,” Emery Johnston said. “So we decided to donate our money to the Red Cross.”

The girls’ mothers, Kelli Johnston and Nicole Beck, said the trio came up with the idea and executed the fundraiser all on their own. To help attract attention, the bubbling trio created cheers and even a cute little jingle, “Donate to the Red Cross, don’t you want to help us?”

Johnston said they chose to donate to the Red Cross because of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in last year. Then, just as the girls were ready to submit their money, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast.

“Everything got destroyed in the hurricane and we felt really bad,” Beck said.

“We promised everyone we would donate the money, so we had to keep our promise,” Johnston added.

The girls’ $35 was recently donated to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts through the Red Cross. Their lemonade and bracelet stand is closed for the season as the girls are once again busy with school and sports. The Johnston sisters attend Trillium Primary School and Beck attends Sunset Primary School.

The girls said their lemonade and bracelet stand was their first — but not last — experience with charitable work. Although nothing is set in stone, the trio is thinking about creating another charitable stand next summer.

“We are really proud that we did something to help other people,” Johnston said.

“Think about all you have and then think about what other people don’t have,” Beck added.

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