College Hill school's lemonade stand to help Joplin victims

When 7-year-old Mallory Floyd heard about what happened in Joplin, Mo., on May 22, she wanted to help.

“There was a really, really bad tornado,” Mallory said. “My dad’s friend — his brother and his children got hurt in the tornado.

“Right then I thought about maybe having a lemonade stand and helping Joplin.”

Mallory and her classmates in the College Hill Elementary School summer latchkey program opened a lemonade stand in front of the school Monday to collect school supplies for tornado victims.

The stand, in front of the school at First Street and Clifton, will operate 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday.

Visitors are encouraged to donate school supplies or cash in exchange for a cup of lemonade.

“We just thought this would be a good way to get the kids and the community to help out with relief efforts,” said Karla Stenzel, a physical education teacher who directs College Hill’s summer latchkey program.

A devastating tornado struck Joplin in May, destroying much of the city and killing more than 150 people. Experts say it ranks as one of the country’s deadliest tornadoes.

Four schools, including the city’s only high school, were destroyed. Six other schools were significantly damaged.

About 7,500 students attend Joplin public schools. District officials have said they hope to rebuild destroyed and damaged schools before classes resume this fall.

“Having adequate school supplies is probably the furthest thing on their minds right now,” Stenzel said. “So we wanted to help the students be prepared for the new school year.”

Shortly after opening on Monday, four youngsters sat under their tent and smiled and waved at passers-by.

“Lemonade!” yelled 9-year-old Noah Yust. “Lemonade for Joplin!”

By 10 a.m., they had collected several school supplies and more than $80. Stenzel said she and other staff members planned to use monetary donations to buy more supplies, taking advantage of seasonal sales later this summer.

“We’re not charging a certain amount, just leaving it up to folks to make a donation,” she said.

More than 100 children are enrolled in College Hill’s summer program, but it averages about 65 kids a day. The children will work the lemonade stand in 45-minute shifts, always supervised by a staff member, Stenzel said.

Mallory, the 7-year-old who inspired the effort, said she doesn’t mind giving up some fun summer activities to hawk lemonade in front of the school.

“It’s pretty fun,” she said. “I just hope we get a lot of school supplies.”