UPDATED Maple Ridge kids pour lemonade in aid of Fort McMurray

Lemonade being sold by a number of young kids in Silver Valley this afternoon, to aid the families in Fort McMurray. - Leah Cooke/Special to The TIMES
Lemonade being sold by a number of young kids in Silver Valley this afternoon, to aid the families in Fort McMurray.
— image credit: Leah Cooke/Special to The TIMES

Five children from Maple Ridge's Silver Valley area were pouring cup after cup of lemonade Friday afternoon, all to help families like theirs who are now homeless because of an Alberta wildfire.

A few families from the Nelson Peak Drive neighbourhood in north Maple Ridge came together to help victims of the fire-ravaged Fort McMurray. Thousands have been left without homes as a result of the rapidly moving forest fire.

When one of the local parents heard about the fire, the idea of a lemonade stand was already being bandied about, explained Leah Cooke. So why not a lemonade sale to benefit Fort McMurray. It was a natural evolution.

The kids, ranging in age from 15 months to 10 years old, were set up and serving lemonade from two hours on May 6, and managed to raise more than $2,000. They actually collected $540 in donations, which was in turn matched to a max of $500 by a family member's company. They will then be submitting the $1,000 donation to the Red Cross, with an understanding that will again be matched. Meaning their efforts, Cooke said, raised more than $2,000.

"We are so happy to be able to help the people of Fort McMurray," Cooke said.

The younger members of the lemonade team includes Leah and Steve Cooke's 15-month-old daughter Ava, Karen and Rick Firth's eight-year-old daughters Kailyn and Brynn, Jenny and Austin Dalgarno's four-year-old daughter Mason, and Leisa and Mike Johnson's three-and-a-half-year-old daughter Liberty.

It was all by donation, Cooke elaborated, noting how the parents and kids actually worked together throughout the day to bring it all together.

The kids helped all the way along, helping create the signs, making up the lemonade, assisting in pitching a tent, decorating the table, helping get the ice, and now hailing down passersby, pouring the refreshing beverages, collecting donations, and saying thank you, Cooke elaborated.

"I'm so proud of all of them," she said.

"It's great, because it's going to such an amazing cause," she added. "That could have been us."

Their neighbourhood is close to a rather dense forested area of Maple Ridge, and the potential of a fire of this magnitude hitting any neighbourhood is very real, Cooke added.

"Hearing what these families, these people, are going through. Our hearts go out to them. And I'm so glad the kids are hear and want to help them."

Cooke said discussion is already underway among the kids about holding another fundraiser.




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