When life hands you lemons

When life hands you lemons | World Vision Blog

The heat of summer is the perfect time for lemonade stands!

Blogger Matthew Paul Turner describes what lemonade stands meant for him as a kid, mean to him now as a father, and how they can be a great way to get kids involved with helping others around the world.


On a hot summer day when I was 9 years old, my younger sister and I decided that we were going to set up a lemonade stand at the end of our driveway. Upon telling our father about our plan, he grimaced slightly. Now, Dad wasn’t exactly against the idea of Elisabeth and me selling mediocre lemonade to the people who drove by our house, he just worried that our backroad wasn’t an ideal location for that to happen.

But Dad’s concern didn’t stop us from making a couple of signs, mixing together water, sugar, lemons, ice, and more sugar, and setting up a card table at the end of the driveway.

Unfortunately, Dad ended up being right. Only a few people drove by our house. And not one of them stopped to buy our lemonade. A couple of them waved. In the end, only one person bought our lemonade—our neighbor, Mr. Vandyke, who I swore my father had called because he felt sorry for us.

A few weeks ago, as my wife and I were preparing to have a garage sale, Jessica looked at me and said, “What if, during the rummage sale, Elias and Adeline have a lemonade stand? They could use it as a way to help World Vision! Don’t you think that’s a good idea?”

As a child, Jessica loved having lemonade stands during the summer months.

At first, perhaps because of my own childhood failure selling lemonade, I might have grimaced at Jessica’s question. But then, after the kids thought it was an awesome idea and had already started making their first official lemonade stand sign, I easily warmed up to the idea.

My kids just turned 7 and 4, so while they know the names of the children that we sponsor through World Vision and Jessica and I try to explain why we believe God calls us to sponsor them, Elias and Adeline are still many years away from having any idea about the devastating hardships that the kids we sponsor experience every day of their lives.

But despite their young minds not being ready to grasp concepts and realities like unclean water, trafficking, malnutrition, stunted growth, malaria, or any of the other terrible symptoms of poverty, they do understand the word “help.”

When life hands you lemons | World Vision Blog

Photos by Matthew Paul Turner.


On the day of our garage sale, as people browsed through our old stuff looking for “steals,” I heard Elias say to one lady, “Would you like to buy a cup of lemonade?” And without missing a beat, Adeline added, “We’re helping World Vision kids!”

It’s never too early for kids to learn what it means to “help” somebody in need.

Last year, when 11-year-old Tyler Brunst from Loomis, California launched his very first lemonade stand, he did so because he’d realized how many kids worldwide don’t have access to clean water. Upon telling his mother that he wanted to raise money to help build clean water wells in Africa, his mother smiled and happily agreed.

With his first lemonade stand, Tyler raised $400, eventually raising $16,000!

Like Elias and Adeline—and like Tyler—anybody can do something seemingly small and make a big difference.

Including you.

Through World Vision's social fundraising platform, we provide you with all the tools you need to start a lemonade stand or other project to raise money for clean water! Do something small and make a big difference this summer. Get started right now!

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