Whit Molnar helped fill cups with lemonade Tuesday morning as a crowd began to form outside his Fourth Street home.
Customers tossed dollar bills in the donation jar before grabbing a cup and maybe a cookie. One $20 bill sat in the jar, as did a check.
“He counts all the money,” said Sarah Molnar, the mother of 7-year-old Whit. “That’s one of his favorite things to do.”
The money isn’t for Whit. Instead it’ll go to the Open Door Children’s Home in Rome, where it will help children who were previously neglected or abused.
The tradition began three years ago. Whit wanted to make some money, and his mother thought a lemonade stand was a good way to teach him how to earn it and why some should be given to charity.
The stand made $430 its first year, which went to the Open Door Home.
It made $850 the second year, which also was given to the facility.
The lemonade stand cleared $1,600 this year, and Molnar expected more donations would trickle in.
“I want to give money to the Open Door Home, so they can have school supplies and stuff like that,” Whit said.
Harry Brock, a member of Open Door’s board of directors, dropped by Tuesday for a cup. He saw Whit recently, and the boy reminded him of the lemonade stand.
“The Open Door Home struggles like everyone else with funding sources,” Brock said. “It may not seem like a lot, but the more folks we’ve got out there supporting us, it certainly makes a difference.”
Word spread through social media and group texts. Molnar said she picked 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the stand, which gave people on their lunch break a chance to visit.
The lemonade and cookies had no sales price. People were simply asked to donate.
The donation jar began to fill shortly after 11 a.m. as customers wandered up, got a cool drink and stayed to chat. Whit and his mother moved behind the scenes, grabbing more materials to make the lemonade.
Molnar’s secret to the sweet beverage: Country Time Lemonade with lemons floating in it.
“I just put real lemons in it,” she confided.