Shoppers

Dozens shop at the lemonade stand at St. Clair Elementary School Tuesday, Dec. 5. The stand offers candy, soda, toys, Christmas decorations and more for students, parents and community members at a low cost. The money collected is donated to local food pantries at St. Clare Catholic Church, First Baptist of St. Clair and Holy Trinity Lutheran in St. Clair, as well as the St. Clair Cares and Shares Committee.

Missourian Photo

The St. Clair Elementary lemonade stand raised $5,589.01, which is $475 more than last year.

Started in 2006 by preschool teacher Suson Elbert, each year the stand sells donated candy, soda, gently used and new toys, Christmas decorations, raffle items and more for students, parents and community members at a low cost.

The money collected is then donated to local food pantries such as St. Clare Catholic Church, First Baptist of St. Clair and Holy Trinity Lutheran in St. Clair, as well as the St. Clair Cares and Shares Committee.

This year’s goal was to raise more than $5,113, which was the amount raised year.

“We were able to meet our goal. I was very happy about that,” Elbert said.

She added that the stand had a “nice assortment” of gifts for students to buy for parents and some students came back each day the stand was open last week.

The stand was also open during school’s Cookies With Santa event Dec. 5 and during that time, parents who usually cannot visit the stand during the day, were able to shop that evening, according to Elbert.

She added that having the lemonade stand open for those extra hours during the event raised a total of $814

“I was glad to see that the parents were happy and got to see what it was like because a lot of our parents work during the day and they never get to come,” Elbert said

There were 28 baskets raffled off that parents took part in, which “was another big hit this year,” she said.

In addition, nine parents and grandparents volunteered to help with the stand.

“It was just another great effort by everyone,” she said.

Ready-made Christmas trees to have as raffle items is an idea in the works for next year, she added. Another goal for next year is to find more items for students to buy for dads and grandpas.

“We did a lot of sodas and snacks for dads because we just run of out things so quickly. I always feel like dads are harder to buy for than moms.

“I try to be real easygoing with this. Whatever comes in, sells and as long as we’re able to raise more money each year, I’m happy with it,” Elbert said.

She added that the students shopping at the store were respectful, patient and kind.

“It’s always so heartwarming to see that (students) want to spend the money they have on other people and not themselves,” Elbert said.

From all 12 years the lemonade stand had been open, a total of $37,842.43 has been donated to the food pantries and St. Clair Cares and Shares Committee, according to Elbert.

“I’m really pleased with that,” she said.

Approximately $304.50 was raised during the lemonade stand’s first year. The money was donated to the Loving Hearts Outreach in Washington, according to Elbert.

In 2007, the stand raised $1,000 and the money was donated to five local pantries. As the stand started to grow, toys, Christmas decorations and raffle prizes were added.

“Now, hopefully we’re going to make over $5,000 each year – that’s going to add up fast each year,” Elbert said.

Overall, the stand this year was “just a wonderful experience for everyone,” she added.