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6-year-old decides to help out the Y with lemonade stand

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Mary Burke Smith has gotten a lot out of her time at the Rome-Floyd County YMCA so she decided to give some back.

The 6-year-old set up a lemonade stand Monday afternoon on the corner of Fourth Avenue and East Third Street with the help of her mom, Hollye Smith, in order to raise money for the 125-year-old organization.

“I wanted to do a hot cocoa stand in the winter,” Mary Burke said.

“We talked her into waiting until warmer weather to do a lemonade stand,” Hollye said. “When we brought up the idea of giving the money to a charity, we explained what that was and she wanted to give it to the Y.”

With every customer who walked up, she made sure to offer a chocolate chip cookie and say that she was raising money for the YMCA.

Mary Burke’s parents — her dad is Jimmy Smith — are YMCA members and Mary Burke sometimes goes to the child care program when they are there exercising.

Mary Burke has also taken swim lessons at the East Second Avenue facility and participated in the YMCA’s soccer program.

“I like going swimming,” Mary Burke said. “I can go in the pool and try and touch the bottom of the deep end now.”

The stand was originally set up last Friday but rain halted sales of the 50-cent-a-cup refreshment after about 30 minutes.

“Actually, we did pretty good Friday considering we were only out here for just a short time,” Hollye said.

They plan to make the donation to the YMCA later this week and hope it will help kids that can’t afford it attend some of the summer programs.

“The Y has been such a special place for us,” Hollye said. “Between swimming, soccer, and everything else they all know her and were so excited that she was doing this.”

YMCA Membership Director Amy Patterson and other staff came by Monday afternoon to purchase some lemonade and wish her luck.

When they asked her if she had been busy, a smile and a laugh was the only reply they got.

“It’s a big family over there and we’re happy to be a part of it,” Hollye said.