Editor’s Note: This week we’re running our favourite people features of 2021, a reminder that even in difficult years good things happen. This one first appeared September 9.
Sierra Hathaway may be a little bit shy but when it comes to supporting her community she’s not the least bit timid.
The 10-year-old Sarnia girl spent her summer selling freshly squeezed lemonade and giving the proceeds to local charities that mean something to her.
“I’ve really watched her gain confidence as she’s done this,” says her grandmother Leigh Hathaway. “Some days it’s pretty slow out there and it’s been hot, but people have really responded and Sierra says she doesn’t want to stop.”
Starting in early July, Sierra set up a lemonade stand two to three afternoons a week outside her home at 726 Wellington St. The first week she raised $400 for the Sarnia & District Humane Society.
“I have always wanted to do (this),” said Sierra, who was too shy for an interview but wrote her comments down in an email.
“My grandma showed me a picture of another girl doing (a lemonade stand) for the Humane Society, so I decided to do it too.”
Sierra accepts donations of any amount for a glass of cold lemonade and a cookie. Some customers have given $20 bills and told her she’s doing a good thing.
“She’s had police officers and city crews come to her stand,” said her grandmother. “My brother even drove from London to support the cause.”
One customer gave a $50 bill and others have made e-transfers to her parents, Jason Hathaway and Pam Cameron.
So far, Sierra has collected more than $1,200 to support the backpack program at the Inn of the Good Shepherd, the children’s ward at Bluewater Health, St. Joseph’s Hospice, High Park School’s breakfast program, and the Sarnia Quilters Guild.
Her grandma is a member of the Quilters Guild, and Sierra’s donations buy fabric to make pillowcases for children’s day surgery at the hospital and blankets for premature babies.
Sierra loves to shop, so she chooses projects she can help shop for, said mom Pam Cameron.
Though people give generously at the lemonade stand, some have refused to accept the lemonade, which astonishes Sierra. Nevertheless, she’s already gone through four cases and hundreds of lemons.
Sierra has also received support from businesses after they find out why she’s making purchases. Some, like Manley’s Basics, have written glowing Facebook posts. Others, like Boyd’s Paper Products and the Toy Corner, gave discounts or donated product.
The owners at Bluewater First Aid Training wrote a congratulatory letter and matched Sierra’s order when they found out the masks and gloves she bought there were for Humane Society volunteers.
“I was very surprised when different companies gave things to me and gave me my money back,” said Sierra. “They were very generous. One place wrote me a nice letter and said nice things. I feel happy when I help people.”
Sierra’s mom says her daughter intends to continue the lemonade stand on weekends now that she’s returned to class at High Park School.
Her commitment over a remarkably hot summer impressed both her mom and grandmother, who also give credit to her younger siblings including Shelby, 8, Lincoln, 6 and Sterling, 3.
“When we’re supervising Sierra at her lemonade stand at the front of the house the others have to give up their pool time,” Hathaway said.
“Without question, I’m a very proud grandma.”