When life handed their neighbors lemons, Wesley and Colvin Hamel took it upon themselves to make lemonade – and plenty of cash.
In an effort to raise money for their cancer-stricken neighbor and family friend John Cronk, the two Turlock boys held a lemonade stand fundraiser this past Saturday, raising a total of $3,500.
“We were shocked,” said JoAnn Boulanger-Hamel, the grandmother of six-year-old Wesley and eight-year-old Colvin. “One of the boys said that they hoped to raise $1,000 and we thought we would be lucky if we hit that number.”
Wesley and Colvin not only hit that number, they exceeded it. Lemonade-lovers travelled from all over the valley, including one family from Gustine, to lend a hand in the boys’ quest to aid their sick neighbor. Cronk, who along with his family moved in across the street from the Hamels about five years ago, has been in and out of the hospital since February with stage four medullary thyroid cancer. The community has since rallied around the Cronk family, hosting numerous fundraisers such as drive-thru dinners and the lemonade stand.
According to Boulanger-Hamel, Cronk’s wife Deanna made numerous trips to the lemonade stand throughout the day, visiting with customers and watching the donations rise.
“Seeing all of that love and support was good for her,” said Boulanger-Hamel. “They need to know that people care because they really are in a tough situation.”
Both Colvin and Wesley grew up playing with Riley, Deanna and John’s daughter, making their desire to help her father that much greater. To prepare for the fundraiser on Saturday, the boys picked lemons so that they could sell fresh, hand-squeezed lemonade to those who stopped by. Lemonade was sold for 50 cents per cup, and baked goods were also for sale. Many gave more than the 50 cents charged, with one customer donating $1,000 to the lemonade stand.
An officer from the Turlock Police Department also made a visit, handing Wesley and Colvin free Slurpee drink coupons. The police department recently partnered with 7-Eleven to reward local children for their good deeds, and the Hamel boys fit the bill.
“I am still shocked at what they accomplished,” said Boulanger-Hamel of her young grandsons.
Although the lemonade stand was a one-day event, those who would like to donate to the Cronk family still can. The Hamel family is accepting PayPal donations to firstname.lastname@example.org.