When Kaylen Burgess set out to launch a new fundraiser for the summer students at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sarnia-Lambton, she hoped five or six businesses might get on board.
“The feedback and support has been incredible — everyone loved the idea and really just jumped on it,” she said, pointing to 18 businesses already signed up for the ultimate lemonade standoff, taking place Aug. 21.
The event, led by the agency’s three summer students — Abby Zalewski, Kaiden Mitchell and Morgan Farr — invites local businesses to a city-wide lemonade competition to contend for two trophies: best tasting lemonade, and most money raised for the agency.
“I really wanted to give them a big project to lead, something they could walk way from feeling really great about,” said Burgess, noting the idea was pitched at a national convention in Toronto earlier this summer.
“It originated at an agency in B.C., and I loved it. It was fun, new, and in my opinion, the perfect summer challenge for these girls.”
The Big Squeeze takes place Wednesday, Aug. 21, when participating businesses will set up their own lemonade stands between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Teams are encouraged to add their own twist (non-alcoholic) and can boost funds raised by adding a barbecue, bake sale, donation box or other add-ons.
A team of judges from Big Brothers Big Sisters will stop at each location for a taste test to determine the winner.
“It’s really about team building, and I think people are grasping on to that and wanting to take part; something fun for a couple of hours to get their employees out,” said Burgess.
“So we’re hoping for a nice day, good weather, and good feedback from the community.”
Participants so far include: Shell (Corunna site), Enbridge, Degroots Nurseries, RBC (London Road), David’s Tea, Coffee Lodge (Exmouth, Finch, Lambton Mall, and Petrolia locations, The Ice Creamery, Scotiabank, Bayview Chrysler Dodge, Family Counselling Centre, John’s Restaurant, Best Buy, and 99.9FM The Fox, K106.3FM, CHOK.
All money raised goes to the agency, and Burgess hopes it can help promote programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters Month in September.
“We are lacking in volunteers; we’ve got a huge waitlist of boys right now waiting to be matched,” said Burgess.
“It’s the worst I’ve seen it.”
Businesses interested in participating can call 519-336-0460, ext. 302, or email firstname.lastname@example.org