The Childhood Cancer Blog

8 Expert Tips for Setting Up the Perfect Lemonade Stand

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By: Trish Adkins

It’s lemonade stand season! Every day is an amazing day to host a lemonade stand. And what makes it more amazing: when you host a lemonade stand that supports kids with cancer. We’ve got some tips from expert stand hosts to help you plan the perfect lemonade stand. 

Harper Mathis and Charlotte Jenkins are expert lemonade stand hosts and have raised nearly $25,000 at their annual lemonade stands in Ann Arbor, Michigan over the past four years. They aren’t just bonded by lemonade, both girls are childhood cancer heroes and their moms, Shellie Mathis and Nicole Jenkins, are coworkers. Charlotte faced neuroblastoma when she was just 3 years old. A few years later, in 2020, Harper was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Harper remains in treatment, still searching for her cure.   

Her family knows firsthand how important a lemonade stand can be to kids facing cancer. When Harper ran out of options, a clinical trial in Georgia, thousands of miles from her home in Michigan, became her only option. Travel costs were expensive, but Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was there to support flight costs through the Travel For Care program. Travel For Care provides families with financial support when they must travel out of town for treatment. 

“You quickly realize childhood cancer isn’t that rare. Then of course you start doing research and become heartbroken as to how little funding goes to childhood cancer and how much a child has to endure during their battle,” said Shellie. 

Harper and Charlotte will host their fourth lemonade stand on June 1 and they have no intention of stopping. 

“Nicole and I talk about hosting our 10 year anniversary lemonade stand, and how the girls will be 20 and 10 years old still using the same little lemonade stand that was built for them,” said Shellie. Shellie, Nicole, and six other amazing lemonade stand experts shared their tips on how to host the perfect lemonade stand:

1.    Make it personal. 

Martha’s son, Noah, battled leukemia twice. Inspired by the story of Alex Scott, Martha wanted to make a difference and support research that could someday help Noah and other kids, too. She decided to host a lemonade stand in their front yard during Lemonade Days. They make the event personal by sharing Noah’s story, providing games, chalk and bubbles for the kids stopping by, and encouraging guests to stay a while and learn more about how their donation helps. 

2.    Pick a central spot that gets a lot of foot traffic. 

For Nicole’s family, hosting a lemonade stand for ALSF has been such a fun and meaningful event to participate in each June. The family sees Lemonade Days as an opportunity to share their stories to spread the message of hope from Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. 

To ensure lots of foot traffic, Nicole and family set up their small, homemade lemonade stand in a central spot downtown and invite family and friends to stop by and donate, all to support kids with cancer. 

“It is incredibly inspiring to see so many other children learn of Alex's story, her heart and mission, and want to do whatever they can to help in the fight against childhood cancer,” said Nicole.  
3.    Advertise, advertise, advertise.

Shellie, who hosts the stand with Nicole, says that the good location is just the beginning. To maximize traffic, the families share all over social media, hang flyers at local businesses, and reach out to everyone. While at the stand, they are there to educate people on the mission and goal. She also says having different donation options available – cash, Venmo, online – helps, too. 
4.    Ask for donations instead of setting a specific price. 

Sarah knew that after her son, Connor, was diagnosed with cancer, she and her family wanted to do everything in their power to help childhood cancer heroes like him and honor the heroes who have passed. They host their lemonade stand at their home each June, sharing Connor’s story of strength and resilience with donors. This year, on the 20th anniversary of Lemonade Days, they are also celebrating Connor being one-year cancer-free! Instead of setting a price for lemonade and other goodies, Sarah and family simply ask for a donation. 

“Every dollar raised is truly helping families like ours,” said Sarah. “I could talk all day about Alex’s legacy. There is something incredible about a child finding the good in a horrible situation. If she can do it, so can all of us!” 
 5.    Include friends to help you with your stand.

After her daughter, Liza, was diagnosed with cancer, Orlee asked Liza’s oncology team about organizations that friends and family could donate to in honor of Liza’s fight. Liza always loved holding lemonade stands in their neighborhood, so Orlee thought supporting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was the perfect way to give back. This year, Orlee, Liza and their family plan to hold three lemonade stands as they’ve done in recent years: one at school, one at a dance studio and one at the farmer’s market in their area. They will involve friends and family in each stand. 

“It’s a fun event for the kids by the kids!” said Orlee Glazer. “It’s even better that we can get people together for the cause.” 
 6.    Start small.

Each year, the dedicated employees of Wilton Tire and Auto set up a mini lemonade stand onsite, where customers can enjoy a homemade glass of lemonade, get their car serviced, and donate to help kids with cancer. This year, they’ve grown to include other small businesses in their annual event. But it all started with just one stand. 

 “Start small. When you can successfully execute a smaller event, you can start to add fun things like a contest or a community partnership with a local business like we’re doing now,” said Tiffany, who works for Wilton. 
7.    Let your kids take the lead! 

When Grace, Faith, and Joy were toddlers, they wanted to sell lemonade for fun. After they saw a feature about Alex and her lemonade stand on TV, they wanted to sell lemonade to help kids with cancer.  “Knowing that hosting a stand can impact lives and help other kids is my favorite part,” said Faith, now a teenager. She and her sisters are celebrating Lemonade Days this year with their annual lemonade stand in their front yard.  

 The girls love taking the lead of organizing and setting up their stand each year, and everyone who visits feels inspired by kids helping kids. Just like Alex, their stand started small, but they say every cup counts! 
 “Let your kids take the lead – there's something so special about kids helping kids. Let them own it,” said Amanda, mom to the three sisters. 

8.    Just do it! 

Students in Miss Caitlin’s class at George Washington Montessori School in Kingston, New York, love participating in Lemonade Days. Having collectively raised more than $10,000 with their lemonade stands over the past 10 years, these students have learned the power of kindness, the importance of strength, and the value of perseverance. Holding a stand together teaches them they can make a positive impact in their community and in the lives of others. Each year, they advertise, plan shifts, and make and serve lemonade all on the front lawn of their school.  
 “Just host a stand! ALSF makes it easy and what child doesn’t like to have a lemonade stand? It is a great way to end the school year,” said Miss Caitlin. 
Register Now for the 20th Anniversary of Lemonade Days
Sign up your stand today! To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Alex’s movement to help kids with cancer, we’re expanding this year’s Lemonade Days to all of June! Pick a day to host your lemonade stand with thousands of others across the country and help raise critical funds for childhood cancer research.

Register Your Stand