NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — A group of South Kingstown youngsters became entrepreneurs this week in order to raise money to help families separated at the southern U.S. border.
The second-graders from Peace Dale Elementary School set up a stand at the Narragansett Beach seawall on Sunday, in the middle of a heat wave, to offer thirst-quenching lemonade and other goodies in exchange for donations.
It’s part of a nationwide effort hosted by the Lawyer Moms Foundation on July 27-28 to raise awareness of the ongoing separation of migrant children from their families and the current plight of children in detention centers across the country.
A large glass pitcher of lemonade sat on a table next to a tray of cookies, cupcakes and other snacks and a clear plastic jar filled with dollar bills, with some fives and tens sprinkled in as well.
“Come to my lemonade stand, it’s free,” shouted young Teddy Ruedakurto as beach-goers strolled by the stand Sunday afternoon as his sister Beatrice stood at the nearby table.
Rather than set prices, the lemonade and snacks were offered in exchange for “pay what you can” donations, and visitors were generous.
“I’m going to snag a lemonade and a cookie,” one woman said after donating.
With help from their parents, the children also set their stand up last week at the Wakefield Riverfire on Main Street. Between both locations, the students ended up raising $600.
About 20 families of students in Peace Dale Elementary School’s Dual Language Immersion program took part, organizer Beth Violette said. Violette’s children Nicholas, 7, and Anna, 5, are in the program.
“It’s part of a national event. There’s stands set up all over the country,” Violette said.
The kids and their parents thanked the towns of South Kingstown and Narragansett, which allowed them to set up the stand for a couple of hours on two days to do the fundraiser.
“The whole community has come together, and it’s been fun. The response has been great,” Violette said.
The money the children raised will go to the Rio Grande Valley Rapid Response and KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), two organizations dedicated to helping migrant families affected by separation at the border.
The mission of Rio Grande Valley Rapid Response is to serve immigrants and refugees being released in the Rio Grande Valley. KIND has a national network of pro bono attorneys who have represented unaccompanied children and provides legal services and social services for released migrant children.
Nationally, the campaign by the Lawyer Moms Foundation has raised more than $44,000, with a week left to go. It’s the second year the nationwide fundraiser has taken place.