Whit Molnar’s lemonade stand was originally conceived of as a mother’s way of teaching her son that money doesn’t grow on trees. But six years down the road, the lesson the 10-year-old has learned is that offering some cold lemonade on a summer day can do a whole lot for those who have little.
Tuesday marked the sixth time Whit Molnar set up his stand in the driveway of his East Fourth Street home to raise money for the Open Door Children’s Home. He only does it once a year, but not counting Tuesday’s sales, the stand has brought in over $20,000 — one individual wrote a check for $10,000 the second year — for the nonprofit since he started.
It all began when Whit Molnar was about to turn 5, and his mother, Sarah Molnar, wanted to show him what it takes to earn money. She also wanted him to know the personal decisions that go into figuring out how to spend that money — in either treating himself, saving it or giving it to a church or charity.
The first year the stand raked in $400, and each year the earnings have increased, reaching $7,000 last year. Sarah Molnar said she was cleaning up last year while Whit Molnar was counting the money, and as soon as he finished, he bolted out the door and yelled to his mom, “We did it.” It’s not all about beating their goal for sales, she said, because whatever they can take in is going toward a good cause.
The offerings have expanded from just lemonade to now frozen lemonade, chocolate-covered pretzels, which are Sarah Molnar’s specialty, chocolate chip cookies and an assortment of other homemade treats. “It’s easier to give money when there’s sweet treats,” Sarah Molnar said.
Also, since the first year, Whit Molnar, who goes to Gracepoint School for dyslexic students in Marietta, has become more involved in the operation of the stand. Sarah Molnar said her son helped for about 30 minutes that opening year, but as he has gotten older, his share of the prep work, which takes a bit more than a week, has tilted more in his direction.
Whit Molnar’s father, Jonathon Molnar, is a vascular surgeon at Harbin Clinic, and he gets his co-workers involved, setting them up with to-go orders and making deliveries of the treats to them.
Whit Molnar said he would like to continue the stand until he goes off to college, a statement his mom replied to by saying he will definitely know how to make good lemonade and chocolate chip cookies by that point.
Haley Irvin, who is the Molnar family’s babysitter of seven years and worked at the stand Tuesday, said it’s special to see Whit Molnar’s excitement as he knows all he’s doing to help the kids at the children’s home.
At the end of the day, when exhaustion sets in, Whit Molnar said he knows now how hard people have to work to make money.