Heart of Clark: Girl selling lemonade to help homeless children

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, July 10, 2019

With the distant sound of thunder overhead and a partially cloudy sky, Kendall Coston set up outside Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation last week, handing cups of homemade lemonade to passersby in exchange for a small donation.

Each cent Kendall, 10, received went to the Salvation Army. Kendall, an incoming fifth-grader at Baker Intermediate School, said her mission was simple: she just wanted to help people.

Kendall’s mother, Anitria Coston, said Kendall had the idea for LemonAiD after seeing a commercial on TV last summer. Kendall decided she wanted to help.

Email newsletter signup

Anitiria said Kendall, who is also involved in Girl Scouts, Upward Sports, her church at Trinity Hill United Methodist Church in Lexington and soon, in Baker’s band playing the clarinet, has always had a generous spirit, even if Kendall is a little shy when talking about it.

“Every year, when we sit down and say OK, what do you want to do this year, she says she wants to go around helping people,” Anitria said, speaking for her daughter as Kendall shyly looked her way for direction. “It’s just something she said she likes to do. So we try to encourage her to do that. We try to think of different ways she can help others.”

Kendall said she wasn’t sure why the cause clicked and why she felt so compelled to run a LemonAiD stand, she just felt called to do it.

Kendall, with help from her mother, cut the lemons, poured the sugar, stirred the lemonade, ran the stand and more during her summer break.

According to the Salvation Army, LemonAiD supports homeless children while empowering young people to make a positive difference in the community.

By operating a LemonAiD stand, children raise money that helps other children staying at The Salvation Army’s Emergency Homeless Shelter in Lexington.

Last year, The Salvation Army was a haven for more than 1,500 homeless individuals, including 260 children.

Half of Kentucky residents, according to the Kentucky Youth Advocates data, “have to spend more than 30 percent of their income to afford the cost of housing, so it’s not surprising that when an unexpected crisis hits, a family can quickly find themselves without a place to live.”

At The Salvation Army shelter, the organization starts by meeting basic needs, with more than 50,000 days of 24-hour shelter and 160,000 meals served last year, but it doesn’t stop there, according to its website.

The Salvation Army provides comprehensive support that helps families find housing and keep it. In the past two years, 96 percent of those The Salvation Army served have not returned to its shelter with a repeat episode of homelessness, according to its website.

The Salvation Army uses the funds Kendall raised from her LemonAiD stand to support operational expenses associated with housing homeless children — food, diapers, clothing, lodging, child care, professional case management and the replacement of worn furnishings and equipment.

Anitria said if people missed the LemonAiD stand last week, they could still donate to The Salvation Army to help support Kendall’s cause. Kendall will also set up at the upcoming WCCPR Bicycle Rodeo July 27.

“It’d be great if there were lots of LemonAiD stands set up,” Anitria said, with Kendall nodding in agreement.

Last year, Kendall raised about $400, and this year, Kendall said she doesn’t have a specific goal, she just wants to contribute to the cause.

“Starting young helping others, we hope she grows up being one of those people who sees the needs of others and can help,” Anitria said.

But for now, she’s just a kid. But kids can help kids, Kendall said.

That’s what the sign said, too, hanging off the side of her LemonAiD stand, as Kendall took three quarters out of another kid’s hand, handing her a sweet, cold cup of lemonade in return.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

email author More by Lashana