HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) – What started as a simple plan to sell sweet treats to raise a few dollars for hurricane victims in the Bahamas has become much more for one Lowcountry community.
“That’s where the whole thing began. Never thought it would get this big,” said Sarah Smith.
“What are we going to do to give back?” asked Alex Smith. “It started with a little idea and it snowballed.”
Sarah Smith planned to match the money her kids made at their lemonade stand in Hilton Head.
She says it was the kids’ idea after seeing the devastation on TV. They all told News 3 it was important.
“Why was it important to raise money for the Bahamas?” News 3 asked.
“Because it got crushed by the hurricane,” said one lemonade seller.
“I thought it was really sad so I wanted to do the best I could,” said another.
“They were so into it, every kid in the neighborhood was so into it,” said Smith. “They were actually fighting to see who would go get the ice first and who could get the lemonade.”
They ended up raising a few hundred dollars on the first day at the stand and shared the news on Facebook that drew a lot of attention.
“This all started around a kitchen table with, ‘What can we do for these people that have lost everything?'” said Rob Knowles, another parent helping with the fundraiser. “A nice match from Sarah’s boss got the ball rolling and next thing you know the power of social media took off.”
Word spread quickly, and people came with $10 and $20, some even “Venmoing” cash if they couldn’t make it.
“I had so many messages that same day that said oh I missed the lemonade stand,” said Sarah. “We want to donate, how do we do it, what do we need to do.”
Plus, several local realtors and businesses agreed to match donations, too. It turned into a wonderful hands-on lesson for the kids about helping others.
“The whole thing was for them to understand you are lucky, you are fortunate, it is not just about a storm, it about life in general,” explained Sarah.
Friday night, the CRAB (Coastal Restaurants and Bars) Group and The Heritage Foundation added $8,000 to the effort.
In just a little over one week, that brings the drive’s total to more than $21,000.
Smith plans to give the funds to Samaritan’s Purse and the American Red Cross to help Bahamians recover from Hurricane Dorian.
Those wishing to donate can contribute through Smith’s Venmo: Sarah-Smith-1272.