A little juice can go a long way. Three beaming little girls arrived at the Centre for Child Development Monday morning clutching bags full of money to prove just that.
Aubrey Leeson, 2, Ryley Patterson, 8, and Chloe Gravel-Fallis, 5, together raised more than $800 this summer for the Centre for Child Development at Surrey events with their homemade juice stand.
“It feels good,” said a proud Ryley. “Next time we want to raise money for cancer research.”
The girls had their stand set up at Canada Day, Fusion Festival, all four Movies Under the Stars at Holland Park, as well as the Eat Play Live Well Street Fair.
They sold at least 750 juice boxes for $1 a pop – all donated by SunRype – and pulled in exactly $857.
Chloe’s mom Tracey Gravel said in past years, they’ve sold lemonate but because they were hitting large events this year, she wanted to find a more streamlined way to sell juice.
“We’ve done lemonade and it’s a lot of mixing and prepping,” she explained. “For a busy event, we weren’t sure how that would work. So we thought, ‘Why don’t we look at a local juice company?’ The first one we thought of with SunRype… and they were on board right away, they delivered 1,000 juice boxes.”
Then Gravel got to work constructing the juice stand.
After a few visits to Pinterest, she decided to use some pallets and wooden crates to make what looked like a real lemonade stand – not just a table, like they’d used in past years.
“It worked out really well, looks really cute,” she said. “I stained it, and my son helped by painting a chalk board on the sign, so we can reuse it.”
This wasn’t the girl’s first rodeo.
In fact, they’ve done about eight events previously, by Gravel’s count, which have benefited such organizations as Surrey Christmas Bureau and Surrey Food Bank.
“It probably started with Ryley when she was around two or three years old,” she said.
Ryley and Aubrey are great nieces of Downtown Surrey BIA manager Bonnie Burnside, and Ryley began going to the Christmas Bureau with Burnside.
“She would take her there to donate toys around Christmastime. When Chloe got to about two, I took her for the first time and she donated toys. Then we started thinking, ‘What else can we do?’ So we put on our first spaghetti dinner and raised more money and more toys for the Christmas Bureau.
“They love it,” said Gravel of the fundraising. “They look forward to it. They do a lot of the planning. The event where we recycling car seats, they came up with all of the activities and all of the ideas. They’re all very outgoing girls and they’re very passionate about what they’re doing and they love helping people.”
While Ryley and Aubrey are cousins, Chloe is a close family friend.
They jokingly call each other “sister cousins,” said Gravel.
This was Aubrey’s first year and Gravel said “she did wonderful.”
“She was the juice fetcher,” she laughed, “and the other girls helped make change.”
At the Centre for Child Development Monday, the girls dropped the money off and then, as kids should, got in some precious play time.
Standing beside the playground, Centre for Child Development (CCD) CEO Gerard Bremault said the girls are “inspiring.”
“For me, what’s interesting about this, what’s most rewarding about it, is seeing children helping children and making an effort,” he said.
“It’s always challenging to raise funds in support of charitable causes and for the Centre for Child Development, to have children taking the initiative to reach out to other families, to residents, participants, and say hey, we can support kids together.
“Being so proactive about it, it’s role modelling for other kids but it also gives you hope as you look forward.”
He said national trends are showing a dip in charitable giving, but seeing the efforts of these young girls “gives me hope for the future.”
Bremault said the CCD helped 2,700 children last year, and another 200 came through Sophie’s Place, who have been abused.
But there are many more children who need help, he stressed.
“There’s 27,000 children with a disability of any type in the South Fraser region. And, recent data came out form the World Health Organization and others indicating that sadly, the number of children who are abused is about 30 times more than what’s reported….. There’s an enormous need.”
He praised the girls’ spirit, and said they are “they’re real role models for families overall about what we can do to help our neighbours.”
For more information about the CCD, or to donate, visit donate.cdfbc.ca.