From ALEC ETHEREDGE | Editor-in-chief
CALERA – Maggie Marling sat bored in the Timberline neighborhood of Calera on a typical summer day, sprinted to her father in her house and started yelling the best idea she ever had.
“Papa, papa, I want to open a lemonade stand,” she said ecstatically to her papa, who was trying to balance a business conversation in one ear and asking Maggie what she needed in the other. “Where can I get lemons? Where can I get cups? “
Her father George put the phone down for a brief second and told her to come up with a business plan.
“He said, ‘Look, you can’t do this without a plan. You have to create a business plan for me beforehand and bring it to me, then I’ll answer your questions, ‘”Maggie’s mom Brandi remembers. “I think George thought it would only keep her occupied for a few minutes, but it got to be a couple of days.”
The business plan
At the time, George didn’t know how seriously Maggie would take his advice to create a business plan, but she was determined to change someone’s life with her lemonade stand.
What started with an idea her father got on a business call turned into a 20-page business plan drawn in crayons and crayons.
“I went and got some crayons and pencils and all that,” Maggie recalls. “I entered all the details there, what the stand should look like, what I needed for the stand, whom I wanted to help myself and a list of charities.”
One of the pages highlighting what the sign on the booth should look like said “$ 2 fresh lemonade for Charudie”.
According to Brandi, the business plan had several ideas on how to help various ends and included her friend Jamison Garzarek.
“When they heard about the accident with the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch and all the children who had lost their lives, the girls got to know the ranch and knew this was the charity they wanted to help,” Brandi said.
So the two friends set about creating the best lemonade stand with their business plan.
Thanks to the help of the community, they got all the materials they needed and set up the stand from June 25th to 26th.
When life gives you lemons, you open a lemonade stand for charity
The next step in the business plan was trying to figure out how to get people to come to their lemonade stand by the Timberline pool, tucked away from the main drag. This became the easiest part of the plan, however, when the girls announced on Facebook that they wanted to raise funds for the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch.
The ranch’s heart was torn on Saturday, June 19, when eight ranch children died after the bus that brought them home from a beach excursion was part of a tragic pile-up on Interstate 65.
A total of 10 people who were involved in the wreck died, including a father and his 9-month-old daughter in a car and the eight ranch girls on their bus.
Tallapoosa Girls Ranch is one of four across the state established by sheriff departments to help children in need. Some have often been abandoned by their parents or are growing up in broken homes, but the ranch takes them in to create a Christian family atmosphere that offers them the best opportunities in life.
This particular group, who grew up during a difficult childhood, were allowed to enjoy a trip to the beach but were killed on the way home in an accident started by car hydroplaning.
“I lost my mother in a car accident when I was 10,” said Jamison’s mother, Erin. “When you know that this is her age, it’s so difficult to explain that everything can be gone at such a moment. Explaining to my daughter that no one could say goodbye, it was just a total tragedy. It meant a lot to me that the girls wanted to help people who were hurt by what I went through in such a situation. “
Maggie and Jamison also took it to heart. None of them complained or asked their parents for help on the way.
While other friends were playing in the pool right next to them, the two girls never asked to leave the lemonade stand to go for a swim. Instead, they stayed true to the cause.
A special occasion
During the heat of the day, Maggie and Jamison hand squeezed over 50 lemons, mixed them with water, sugar, and ice, and served nearly 70 cups a day.
“It’s hard for our two children, who have both parents and are so blessed that it’s hard to convey the value of their property to them without seeing what others don’t,” said Erin. “It doesn’t make materialistic stuff seem that important. They knew where this money was going and never asked for our help.
It meant a lot to parents to see that our children had an idea that they knew their only benefit would be to help others. They never complained or asked once to go or do anything else. You rarely see that, especially with 8-year-olds. “
The hard work paid off as the girls raised a total of $ 2,800 through soda sales and donations over two days.
“When we heard about the tragedy, we just wanted to help, but we didn’t expect it,” said Jamison.
Maggie said she was afraid no one would show up and she wasn’t expecting more than 20 customers.
“The number just got higher,” she says. “I was shocked. It was so much fun.”
Not only will the money be brought to Girls Ranch by the girls and their families, but they will also raise more money later this week on Calera’s First Friday and hope to do the same for other charities soon.
“When kids go to Walmart or Target they say, ‘What can I get, what can I get?’ But none of us really remember those $ 5 toys, ”said Erin. “However, we remember experiences in life, we remember what we do for others and what they do for us.”
And this experience is one that both Maggie and Jamison said they will never forget while hoping this is just the beginning of helping others.
Parents were also grateful to the Calera Ward for their assistance in helping Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch through a tragic time.
What started with a daughter yelling an idea at her father during a phone call grew into a powerful business helping a group of people when they needed it most.
“We just want them to know we love them and know it’s hard, but we want to help them know that we are here to help them,” Maggie said.