BURRILLVILLE – It began with a 4-year-old’s plan to raise a few dollars to help local animals at his grandparent’s yard sale.
Ten years later, Mapleville 8th-grader Ben St. Pierre’s annual “Lemonade Stand” is a major community event, bringing in thousands of dollars every year to support the Burrillville Animal Shelter.
The day-long event includes raffles, face-painting, baked goods and of course – the chance to grab a cold glass of St. Pierre’s lemonade.
He aims to raise some $3,500 in 2019, beating last year’s record of $3,345.
The event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Pierre’s home at 90 Maureen Circle.
“This community is the reason that Ben’s fundraiser is so successful every year,” noted Ben’s mother, Kristine St. Pierre.
The lemonade stand has become a big event not just for the Burrillville family, but their entire neighborhood over the years, with local kids helping to prepare weeks in advance. From baking chocolate chip cookies, to collecting raffle prizes, there’s a job for everyone.
“The raffles have become such a huge part of his event over the years,” said Kristine, noting that in 2018 the family collected 22 prizes. “Last year, the raffles brought in an amazing amount of money in donations.”
This year, prizes already include a gift certificate for two free kids’ yoga classes at A Touch of Light Wellness Center; a gift card to Pearls Candy and Nuts; a $20 gift card to The Taco Shop; and pet sitting services by Downdog Pet Sitting worth $60.
The St. Pierres will also be selling Ben’s now-famous homemade dog treats, and a friend of the family will do face painting for kids.
It’s hard work for a young animal lover who’s been recognized for his efforts by many. The Woonsocket Rotary Club, a contributor to the annual charity, has made Ben an honorary member in recognition of his work. In 2017, the Burrillville Police Department recognized his outstanding generosity and community service to the town of Burrillville at the “Heroes in Our Community Celebration.”
Last year, Ben received an acknowledgement from Windwalker Professional Pet Assisted Therapy and his cause received double the money for his efforts thanks to a matching state grant secured by former state Rep. Cale Keable.
One thing has changed since Ben last opened his charitable stand for lemonade business: the cause has become even closer to his heart, thanks to a new family member.
In August of 2018, just after last year’s lemonade stand, Ben and his family rescued a dog named Maisey, and he got a new best friend.
Those who wish to donate a raffle prize for the upcoming event are asked to contact the family via the event Facebook page. If you cannot make it the August 17 event, but would still like to donate, make out a check to the Burrillville Animal Shelter and send it to the Maureen Circle address.
“There are some high goals for this year so everyone, please come out, donate, share the info, and most importantly, know you are doing a good for the animals and for Ben,” said Kristine.