Lemonade stand raises hundreds for local animal shelter

Lemonade stand raises hundreds for local animal shelter

Kristine, Christopher, and Ben St. Pierre hold up a flyer for this year’s lemonade stand – Aug. 12 from 12 – 4 p.m. the stand will raffle off 10 prizes and raise money for the Burrillville Animal Shelter. (Breeze photo by Jackie Roman)

BURRILLVILLE – Ben St. Pierre has run a one-day lemonade stand every summer for the past eight years.

If this was an ordinary lemonade stand, he’d have to sell more than 1,600 cups of lemonade to earn the amount of money he raises.

Drive through the wooded streets of Mapleville this weekend, down the curved road of Maureen Circle, and you’ll find the stand with homemade cookies, dog treats, 10 raffle prizes, and a mission to raise hundreds of dollars for the Burrillville Animal Shelter.

Ben has been running the unconventional stand since he was four years old, when a modest $75 profit was donated to Woonsocket Cat Sanctuary.

That number has grown ever since.

Last year he raised $840 for the Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island.

Ben’s parents have never forced the idea of the charitable lemonade stand on him.

“I was just thinking it would be fun,” said his mother Kristine. “And now this year...it’s crazy.”

The actual lemonade stand itself will be the same this Saturday, Aug. 12. Ben has used the same one since he was four – a small wooden orange and blue stand with a black chalkboard advertising 50-cent lemonade.

Next to this stand will be a table full of raffle prizes, including four PawSox tickets, an Avon gift basket, and a Kindle Fire.

To advertise this year’s prizes and increase foot traffic, Ben hops on his bike and hands out fliers to neighbors and local businesses.

This year he received a $100 donation from the Woonsocket Rotary Club and then an anonymous donor matched that number.

“Donations come in from across the country,” said Christopher, Ben’s father.

Money floods in from family, friends, and complete strangers all over the country.

People will stop by the lemonade stand and hand Ben $20, just to contribute.

Coworkers of Kristine’s at TriLiteral in Cumberland will stop by, and Christopher will get interest from his coworkers at Douglas Construction Company in Smithfield.

“We can’t even announce the total until a week afterward, because donations keep coming in,” Kristine said.

For Ben, there is no mystery as to why his lemonade stand generates this kind of broad attention.

“It’s because it’s a good cause,” he said.

Ben has never asked to keep any of the money he has raised, totaling thousands over eight years.

“You try to do what you can for your community,” his father always told him.

Ben has inspired two young girls, neighbors of his, to run their own lemonade stand each year. They too, donate their profits to a charitable cause.

Though Ben is 11 years old now, he has no plans to retire his annual lemonade stand.

Each year, his mother asks him, “Should we do it again this year?”

His reply is always the same: “I’m going to do it forever, Mom.”

This year’s lemonade stand will be held at 90 Maureen Circle in Mapleville this Saturday, Aug. 12, from noon to 4 p.m.