“People are Handing Us Five-Dollar Bills and Walking Away. They’re Not Even Asking for Lemonade”

In August 2012 in Pierre, South Dakota, Jennifer Youngberg needed to punish her children: eight-year-old Sydney and 10-year-old Rylee Youngberg. Jennifer said, “Being that it’s summer, the kids were out of school and I had taken them to the city pool for the day.” But her children ditched the pool, which has lifeguards, and went to the river, which does not have lifeguards. Jennifer grounded her daughters. She said, “In order for them to get off of grounding, I wanted them to do something for someone else.” Her daughters decided to start a lemonade stand. After they had had it going for a while, Jennifer asked, “How’s it going?” The girls replied, “People are handing us five-dollar bills and walking away. They’re not even asking for lemonade.” Jennifer said, “And I thought ‘My gosh, what is going on outside?’” It turned out that the girls had made the lemonade stand a fundraiser for their father, who is fighting cancer for the second time. Jennifer took a photo of her daughters’ sign, which spelled “cancer” as “cancaer,” and posted it on Facebook. It went viral. The girls’ father, Mike Youngberg, was at work. He said, “I started seeing some of the e-mails going around and everybody kind of trying to come over and stuff.” The girls had a sign saying that the lemonade was 50 cents, but with all the contributions they made thousands. Eight-year-old Sydney has one good use for the money: “So we can go and visit him.” Good idea. Their father has to go to the Twin Cities in Minneapolis for cancer treatments. Their parents have forgiven the girls for the unauthorized trip to the river. Mike said, “Yeah, we got over that in a real hurry.” Jennifer said about the girls’ lemonade stand, “It was very touching, and it was a blessing.”

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