Seattle 5-year-old’s lemonade stand raises $17,000 for Maui wildfire victims

A 5-year-old boy from Seattle is proving that age is no barrier to helping others in need. Edison Juel, affectionately known as Eddie, was on a family trip to Hawaii’s Big Island when he became aware of the devastating wildfires on the island of Maui.

The fires had claimed the lives of 115 people and left the town of Lahaina in ruins. Eddie’s parents were watching news reports of the tragedy when he asked them to turn it off because it made him sad. This prompted his parents to address the issue with him. Eddie’s mother, Ami Juel, recounted how they had previously stayed in Lahaina, allowing her to explain the situation to Eddie.

Despite his young age, Eddie felt a strong desire to help the victims of the wildfires. Inspired by a lemonade stand he had seen during a visit to Colorado, Eddie proposed the idea of setting up a stand to raise money for the wildfire victims. His parents fully supported the idea and organized a lemonade stand on their busy Seattle street. The stand operated from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., selling lemonade, sparkling water, popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, candy, and even some of Eddie’s toys.

The family shared their efforts on social media, and the response was overwhelming. The stand garnered significant attention, and people not only purchased lemonade but also made generous online donations, including someone from Honolulu who had heard about the initiative through local news coverage. In a surprising turn of events, the lemonade stand generated over $17,000 by Friday, a result of stand profits, online donations, and corporate matching from Ami and her husband’s workplaces.

Ami mentioned that Eddie thoroughly enjoyed the process, although he was initially taken aback by the amount of thank-you videos he had to record for Venmo donations. Eddie’s enthusiasm extended to providing detailed descriptions of the products to customers at the stand. Ami and her husband expressed immense pride in Eddie’s creativity and generosity, seeing his positive ideas inspire others to give back.

As Ami beautifully summed it up, “Struck by how his generosity invited others to be generous… It was not something we could have orchestrated for him, so it was nice to see that was an idea he has.”

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