CT Checkup: Lemonade stand in Farmington neighborhood raises money to purchase racial equality, diversity books for town schools, libraries

Hartford

FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Farmington residents are turning lemons into lemonade—and selling it to raise money for an important cause. 

When Chelsea O’Donnell heard that the ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign created by her two young neighbors was vandalized, she decided that they needed to take action. 

“We were all pretty shaken about it and realized there was really something we had to do,” she said. 

And so she and her neighbor, Amanda Gorman, whose children made the sign, created ‘Lemonade 4 Change.’

“The whole impetus for the project was that we would sell cups of lemonade in order to raise funds for racial equality and diversity books for our local Farmington elementary schools and libraries,” O’Donnell explained. 

The lemonade ‘stand’ started virtually–raising $2,000 in one week through a GoFundMe page.

Then, they took the stand to Main Street where an additional $900 was raised for the cause. The community event also welcomed kids stopping by to make their own ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs.

So far over $5,000 has been raised, which is enough to provide at least 50 books to each of the four Farmington elementary schools and two town libraries.

“We thought ‘what better way to make sure our children are educated than by starting really, really early,’” O’Donnell told News 8 on the importance of children having access to diverse books. 

The Farmington mother worked with local librarians to curate a list of over 80 racial equality and diversity books.

Her hope is to get them into the schools and libraries come fall. 

“Really it’s just about making sure that we can do our part,” O’Donnell said. “Even if it’s the smallest way possible like a lemonade stand to make sure everyone in our community feels represented and equal.” 

O’Donnell has also shared an online tool kit for others to start their own lemonade stands.

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