CHICAGO (CBS) — Hayli Martenez is back in business!
A couple of weeks ago CBS 2 first reported on how the health department in Kankakee shut down the 11-year-old’s lemonade stand because her mom didn’t have water and sewer service.
But as CBS 2’s Jim Williams explains, some generous people saw CBS 2’s report and now Hayli Martenez is serving the cool drinks once again.
“It’s like a new grand opening!”
Curbside on East Court Street in Kankakee.
“It feels awesome! I was excited,” said Hayli Martenez. Her customers are back too.
“I don’t think I stopped crying for three days. It was so big,” said her mother Iva Martenez.
The response was big indeed. CBS 2 reported two weeks ago that officials in Kankakee had shut down Hayli’s lemonade stand. They called conditions at her home unsanitary because the family didn’t have water and sewer service.
“I really want to go back to selling lemonade,” Hayli said.
Her mom, then unemployed, had fallen behind in the water and sewer bills.
After that report, CBS 2 was inundated with email and posts on social media. Strangers offering to help an 11-year-old girl saving coins for her college fund. The overdue water and sewer bills were paid.
“People really do still care. People really do come together, still. And we still look out for each other,” Iva Martenez said.
But many wondered why government officials would close, of all things, a child’s lemonade stand.
A member of the Kankakee County Board is proposing a law that would make it possible for young lemonade stand operators like Hayli to stay in business without going through the local government bureaucracy.
“The thing is, we always make sure when they’re young like this you don’t want to kill a dream,” said Commissioner Robert Ellington Snipes.
Today, Hayli Martenez’s dream is alive, and she is grateful.
“I thank you guys. I really, really do,” smiled Hayli.
CBS 2 heard from Kraft Heinz, the maker of Country Time lemonade. The company said it is making up any money Hayli lost during the time her stand was shut down.
The money will go to her college fund.