Lemon aid: Kids’ stand helps orphans in Haiti

By Kristina Jackson

Many kids set up summer lemonade stands to make a little extra pocket money. A group of about 10 Manhattan children took this to the next level, raising hundreds of dollars and donating it to charity.

“The Attic Club,” as the group of Lee Elementary students call themselves, raised $670 to purchase goats, cows and chickens for the Ephraim Orphan Project, an orphanage in Haiti that focuses on creating a self-sustaining home for orphaned children.

The club meets in the attic of the Purdom home. Katelyn Purdom, 8, came up with the idea for the fundraiser after hearing about the devastation remaining after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

“My dad told me all about Haiti, and my mom looked at a website for the orphanage,” Katelyn said. “So me and my friends thought we could help.”

Amanda Purdom, Katelyn’s mother, said the family heard about the Ephraim Orphan Project after her husband, a physician in Manhattan, had traveled to Haiti with a group of doctors. Purdom said she was shocked when her daughter came to her with this idea.

“As a mom, you hope your kids have that empathy for others,” she said. “So when she came to us with this idea, I was really touched.”

The orphanage opened last year and currently is home to six children. Mark Catterson, a board member for the project, said the facility has started some farming and food production as a self-sustaining way to feed the children there.

Donors can purchase food-producing animals such as cows and chickens through the orphanage’s website, ephraimorphanproject.org.

The facility also grows crops including mangoes, corn, avocadoes and bananas.

“Any place you want to be in the Flint Hills, that’s kind of what it looks like,” Catterson said. “Until you realize there’s fruit growing on the hills.”

To help this organization grow, parents of The Attic Club members contributed lemonade mix and baked goods for the fundraiser. They invited friends and co-workers. The kids invited their teachers and created signs to put out on street corners. At the end of the day, they had enough money to purchase four cows, four goats, seven chickens and five chicks.

“When I first heard about Haiti, I was sad,” said Attic Club member Taryn Robinson, 8. “Then I was glad we were helping. I was excited we had a chance to help them.”

Katelyn said the group has talked about selling pies around Thanksgiving to raise more money for the project.

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