River Forest Neighbors Hold 17th Annual 9-11 LemonAid Stand For Charity

Lisa Fielding
September 10, 2018 - 1:29 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- In 2002, a River Forest neighborhood wanted to remember the victims of 9/11 and give back to the community on the first anniversary of the terror attacks.

"Folks on the block got together and decided we don't want to let the day go by without doing something to recognize the day and to honor the victims and in part of doing that, we also wanted the kids on the block involved so we decided to do a lemonade stand," said Patty Henek, a founding member of Kids Helping Kids 9/11 LemonAid Stand.

"That first year, we set up, we raised about $400 for a local children's charity and it's kinda grown from there," she said.

Now, every Sept. 11, the neighbors gather for the Kids Helping Kids 9/11 LemonAid Stand. Over the years, the event has turned into a festival filled with food, drinks and live entertainment.

"It was one table and a few baked goods from the block and we made our own lemonade," she laughed. "But now it's grown. We have multiple activities going on, face painting, tattoos, live entertainment, we have the police and fire departments there and local businesses come out and set up passing out goodies," Henek said.

"We've come a very long way. We went from raising $400 our first year, to raising $40,000 in 2016, we've had several years where we've raised closed to that. It's become incredible how the community has embraced this event and would like to see it be successful. It's really become a community event."

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Henek expects an even bigger turnout this year for the 17th anniversary.

"We usually estimate numbers by cups and last year we used upwards of 3,000 cups," she said.

The Kids Helping Kids 9/11 LemonAid Stand will be Tuesday, Sept. 11 from 3-7 p.m. at 700 Bonnie Brae Drive in River Forest.

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Proceeds from LemonAid 2018 will benefit two organizations, A House in Austin and New Moms.  The goal is to raise $40,000, so these organizations may extend their reach to serve more families in need.

“A House is Austin is thrilled to be chosen as a beneficiary of the 2018 LemonAid charity fundraiser. By providing families with access to parent-child classes, home visits, weekly support groups and parenting workshops, our programming leads to empowered parents for healthy child development and healthy families. LemonAid’s generous funds will help us as we renovate our permanent space to serve more families in the Austin neighborhood for generations to come.” said Erica Hilgart, Founder, Executive Director.

In 2011, in recognition of the residents’ efforts, the Village Board of River Forest approved a resolution providing for an honorary designation of the 700 block of Bonnie Brae as “LemonAid Place.”

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Past LemonAid recipients that received a combined total of over $250,000 include: 

  • 2017 - $36,000 to Kidz Express, Chicago, IL          
  • 2016 - $40,850 split between Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry & PING (Providing Instruments for the Next Generation)  
  • 2015 - $37,000 split between NAMI Metro Suburban & PACTT Learning Center         
  • 2014 - $37,000 split between Parenthesis Family Center & Maywood Fine Arts                               
  • 2013 - $32,000 to Oak Leyden Developmental Services
  • 2012 - $21,000 to Sarah’s Inn, Oak Park, IL
  • 2011 - $16,000 to Thrive Counseling Center, Oak Park, IL       
  • 2010 - $11,250 to Opportunity Knocks, River Forest, IL          
  • 2009 - $8,600 to The Children’s Clinic, Oak Park, IL
  • 2008 - $5,550 to Holiday Food and Gift Basket Program, OP/RF, IL
  • 2007 - $3,500 to Cluster Tutoring Program, Oak Park/Chicago, IL
  • 2006 - $2,300 to Amity School Children's Aid, River Forest, IL
  • 2005 - $2,100 to Shriners Hospital for Children, Chicago, IL
  • 2004 - $1,600 to West Suburban Special Recreation, Oak Park, IL
  • 2003 - $900 to Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry
  • 2002 - $400 to Hephzibah Children's Association, Oak Park, IL