Little hands making a big difference

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Kira Hardwick, 7, of Wheaton, wanted to help the children at St. Jude’s Hospital, so she came up with the idea to have a lemonade stand. After she talked with her mom, they went to the owner of the local grocery store Wheaton Family Market, and Owner Chad Bigham helped by donating supplies and letting Hardwick set up in front of his store. The town was supportive and came by all day with donations and to buy lemonade. Hardwick also has a fundraiser on Facebook and has donations all the way from California. Hardwick also received help from, Kylie Hardwick, 10, her big sister. Hardwick raised $267 on July 13. Contributed photo

When the world gave her an idea, Kira made lemonade

A local girl wanted to make a difference, so she set up a lemonade stand and has donated all of her proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Kira Hardwick, 7, of Wheaton, said she raised $267 on Aug. 13 with her lemonade stand.

“That is a lot of money, especially from a small town,” she said. “I ended up making two yellow jars of lemonade and two pink jars.”

Hardwick said the idea to have a lemonade stand was very simple — she loves lemonade.

“I like lemonade, and I like making money, so I thought a lemonade stand was perfect,” she said. “I got the idea to donate to St. Jude, when I thought about how much they needed the money.

“When I was four, and when I was five too, I did a pre-school bike ride to raise money for St. Jude. I did a trike-a-thon.”

Hardwick said that experience just stuck with her.

“I have been wanting to go back in time and do it again because it was so fun,” she said. “I plan to do this again, I was thinking for the Wheaton BBQ in August.”

Hardwick said for her next stand, she wants to do fresh squeezed lemonade.

“[How did it feel to help other children?] It felt like joy from my grandpa,” she said. “He died when I was four, and it was really sad. I feel like I made him proud when I did this.”

Hardwick said in the future she plans on sticking with a lemonade stand, but she would like to donate to Cox Health Children’s Wing next.

“I want to give money to lots of different hospitals,” she said. “It is so sunny today, and I feel like that is my grandpa’s smile.”

Hardwick said that a customer even told her that she makes the best lemonade in town.

“I don’t know where I will set up at the Wheaton BBQ, but I was thinking we should put it in the front so that people see it when they drive by,” she said. “When they drive by they will say, ‘Oh, Lemonade!’”

Hardwick said she is really good at painting and will make a big sign.

“I sell the lemonade for one buck each,” she said. “And I have a jar for more donations if they want, and every single penny goes to St. Jude.”

Hardwick said she wants to say thank you to all the people who bought her lemonade and helped her raise this money.

“I hope they all come to my next lemonade stand,” she said.

Regina Hardwick, Kira’s mother, said she also wants to thank all the people who helped with the stand.

“Chad Bigham, owner of Wheaton family Market, donated so much,” she said. “When Kira first had the idea she wanted to do it at our house, but we live on a dead end street and we decided to talk to Chad.”

Regina said when Chad heard the idea, he loved it.

“We never expected him to donate, we just wanted to ask if we could do it at the store,” she said. “He took the idea and ran with it. He brought the tent to set up and all the girls who work in the store went out of their way to help her.

“They were sending people out, and they bought cups of lemonade. It was so amazing how everyone came together, that is the amazing thing about this town.”

Regina said she moved to Wheaton when she was 15 years old, and she has never felt anything like her little town.

“Kira just came up with the idea to have a lemonade stand at the Wheaton BBQ and she wanted to help Cox because her older sister had a life-saving surgery there when she was five weeks old,” she said. “She also ended up having her appendix taken out there as well.

“Kira wants to help the children that are in the same hospital that her sister was in.”

Regina said Kira is also artistic.

“She draws and paints and is really good at it,” she said. “She likes to sing and is always so joyful. She is always singing or humming, in fact, the first day of first grade her teacher sent me a message and said that Kira is always humming in class. I said, “Yeah, she does that, she is always happy.”

Regina said she actually hasn’t even sent off the money to St. Jude yet because people are still donating money.

“I haven’t recounted but it is over the mark of $267,” she said. “I am blown away by how much money she raised and how big it got.”

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