Monday, August 22, 2011

A New Generation of Philanthropists

When eight year old Eden Juliette Macknin saw the devastation caused by the tornado that ravaged Joplin, Missouri on television, she wanted to do something to help. Eden’s father, David, described his daughter as a “very empathetic, sensitive kid, who has been captivated by the tornado damage and wildfires” and says that whenever she sees news of disasters like tornados and fires she asks “are the animals safe? Are the firefighters safe?”

After Eden learned about the destructive tornados in Joplin, she told her father that she wanted to raise money to help the people that had lost their homes and belongings. She brainstormed with her dad and came up with the idea of a lemonade stand. Eden had seen other children in the neighborhood with lemonade stands and thought she could give that a try, but she wanted to have a good location so people would see her stand. They drove around their Highland Park neighborhood looking for the ideal spot and decided on the bike and jogging path along Green Bay Road. David, eager to encourage his daughter’s philanthropic effort, suggested that they walk along the path and watch the people to get ideas for her lemonade stand. Eden quickly realized that most runners and bikers don’t carry money while they exercise so they would not be able to donate. Eden and her dad crafted a note asking for donations for the Red Cross and placed them in pre-addressed envelopes to distribute at their stand. She made a big sign that said that the lemonade was free if a donation was made to the Red Cross for tornado relief.

When the big day arrived, Eden had her stand ready with lemonade, water and a stack of the donation envelopes. She was encouraged by all the people who stopped and commented at what a good thing she was doing to help others. A few days later, envelopes started arriving in the mail. Eden was able to raise more than $100 dollars for the Spring Storms relief effort with her lemonade stand, but more importantly, she learned that one person can make a difference in the lives of others.

This is not the first time that Eden has displayed a passion for helping others, and certainly won’t be the last. Her father says that she always gives her own money in the collection box at their Synagogue and that she aspires to be a teacher when she grows up. No matter what career she chooses, we hope that she will continue to support the mission and values of the American Red Cross.

Written by Heidi Schwartz and Blair Janis

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