Reporting Lisa Fielding
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RIVER FOREST, Ill. (CBS) – Millie Flannery says the terrorists attacks on 9/11 gave her an idea.
“When the terror attacks happened, I wondered what we could do to help the victims’ families and the people of New York and Washington, D.C., and some said they didn’t need money and had plenty of love and suggested we give back to our own community,” she said.
So that’s what she and her neighbors in River Forest did. They decided to hold a good old-fashioned lemonade stand.
The first year, in 2002, the stand on Bonnie Brae Place raised $400.
“It just snowballed from there and since then, we’ve raised over $36,000,” said Flannery.
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Now, every Sept. 11, the neighbors gather for the Kids Helping Kids 9/11 LemonAid Stand. Over the years, the event has turned into a festival filled with food, drink and live entertainment.
“The community of River Forest comes out, the community of Oak Park comes out, we probably serve up to a thousand cups of lemonade,” said Flannery.
Fenwick High School student Luke Olson was only 8 years old when they had the first lemonade stand.
“I’ve been involved through the entire run. It was really small and low key the first year but it’s really evolved into a great and big thing,” he said.
Olson says it’s been a big part of his life for ten years.
“It’s really brought our block together as kind of an extended family. It’s really just a great thing that we’re doing this.”
Flannery expects an even bigger turnout this year for the 10th anniversary.
The Kids Helping Kids 9/11 LemonAid Stand will be Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Bonnie Brae Place in River Forest.
There will be an opening ceremony at 1:00 pm to honor the anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The public is invited to enjoy ice-cold lemonade, provided by Whole Foods Market River Forest , popcorn, baked goods and live entertainment while supporting the Thrive Counseling Center, a comprehensive, non-profit, mental health center that serves Oak Park, River Forest and the neighboring communities.
The money raised will go toward THRIVE youth services. These services include substance abuse prevention programs in local schools, 24/7 crisis support for youth, and general youth counseling.
In recognition of the residents’ efforts, the Village Board of River Forest recently approved a resolution providing for an honorary designation of the 700 block of Bonnie Brae as “LemonAid Place.”