Local Kids’ Lemon-Aid Stand Fund-Raising Efforts Go Viral

With the help of their mothers, the kids raised more than $200,000 for Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
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Photograph courtesy of Hillary K. Weidner

When life gives you lemons, donate to Cincinnati Children’s. That was the mentality of 
the Weidner and Zerbe families when they parlayed earnings from their children’s lemonade stand into something bigger than they ever imagined.

Labor Day weekend, Hillary Weidner and her three daughters, ages 7 months to 4 years, along with Amanda Zerbe’s three sons, 10 months to 4 years old, dedicated an afternoon to selling $1 cups of lemonade in their Indian Hill neighborhood. Within about 45 minutes, they raised a sizable $148, deciding to donate it to Cincinnati Children’s, a cause near and dear to the Weidner family.

Hillary’s oldest, Bea, had a liver transplant in 2015. During a long wait on the transplant list, Hillary learned she was a donor match. “It was such a blessing,” she says. “Bea was very sick…and finding out I was a match was one of the best days of my entire life. As a mom, you want to do anything you can to [help] your child. To be a part of this solution was monumental.”

Weidner shared photos of the lemonade stand on Instagram, asking her followers to spread the word and match donations, and the post went viral. Soon after, family, friends, and strangers were pouring donations into Weidner’s Venmo account, multiplying their original donation to a staggering $175,000 in just one week (up to $205,000 and counting). Big names even got in on the philanthropy, including Country Time Lemonade, Bravo host Andy Cohen, and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

“We started something so little to teach kids how to have a business and give back the money you make,” Weidner says. “It’s our responsibility to raise this generation of givers.” Next July will mark Bea’s five-year liver transplant anniversary, and in the meantime they plan to continue raising money for the hospital that saved her life.

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