By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Last year around Christmastime, Warsaw residents Chad and Amber Harrison had a discussion with their children about living conditions in Haiti.
“It was mostly one of those parenting conversations about ‘Eat your dinner because there are starving kids everywhere,’” Amber said.
Their daughters, Alayna, age 9, and Adelle, age 7, took that discussion to heart.
Working together every evening, the girls began putting a plan together to help the Haitian country, eventually deciding on a freewill donation lemonade stand.
“It evolved every night, and I was given the updates every morning at breakfast,” Amber said.
The lemonade stand, set up in the Harrison’s yard, has had no specific schedule.
“They usually just go out when we don’t have errands to run and it’s a nice day,” Amber said.
Alayna and Adelle initially set a goal of $300, planning to put $100 toward Haitian orphans, $100 toward education in Haiti and the final $100 to be divided up between the girls and their younger brother, Isaac, age 4.
To their surprise, they raised $373 on the first day.
Surpassing their initial goal on Day One didn’t stopped them.
“They just keep raising their goal,” Amber said.
The girls have received a couple of large donations. Wildman Business Group, where Chad is employed, committed to a $250 donation. Wildman Business Group also has a program that matches any donation to a 501c3 up to $250 per year to any employee willing to give.
Alayna and Adelle plan to continue running the lemonade stand until school starts up.
“They have decided to donate the money to NG4C, a non-profit run by Matt and Leah Hoskins,” Amber said. “They have adopted three girls from Haiti, and have a school down there.”
The Harrison family and the Hoskins family attend the same church.
“We are familiar with their story, so the girls were comfortable giving the money to their organization,” Amber said. “It will be their request that half of it go to their school and half of it go to the orphanage that they brought their daughters home from.”
The girls attend Eisenhower Elementary School where Alayna will be in 3rd grade and Adelle will be entering 1st grade. Isaac will be attending Presby Preschool.
Alayna loves “swimming, theater, playing piano, singing and figuring out ways to meet needs” while Adelle’s interests include “fashion, designing, singing, dancing and implementing Alayna’s plans to help people,” according to Amber.
Isaac is described as having a pure heart and loves to make people laugh.
Amber and Chad said they were not surprised when they found out about their daughters’ plan to raise funds for Haiti.
“When they were 4 and 3 years old, they had come up with a different, but equally amazing plan,” Amber said. “Adelle was going to become a fashion designer and sell her clothes to famous people, then give that money to the orphanage that Alayna would be running. Adelle was also going to make clothes for the kids at the orphanage.”
Another year, Amber said, the girls were distraught at the thought of people sleeping outside during the winter months without blankets, and wanted to collect blankets to send to homeless people in Chicago.
“It seems like they have always been creating plans to help people,” Amber said. “This was just one of the first ones that we were able to implement and let them run with.”
Alayna said she got the idea for a lemonade stand fundraiser from the book “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
Both girls said they plan to hold more fundraisers in the future.
“It was so fun going out there, watching people pull in to our driveway, and pouring the lemonade for them and giving them cookies,” Alayna said.
When asked what her favorite part was about raising funds through the lemonade stand, Adelle replied, “Well, actually, I loved just watching the cars pass by. Some of them even handed out money from their cars as they drove by. I love watching people decide to come together with the same idea to help a group of people that need it the most.”
At last count, the girls had collected a total of $1,034 to send to Haiti.