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Phil Campbell student sells lemonade to benefit community

PHIL CAMPBELL – Kids and lemonade stands have been synonymous with summertime since Wally and the Beav were roaming the streets of Mayfield, so a story about a girl and her lemonade stand may seem like one of those run-of-the mill, ho-hum stories that are a dime a dozen this time of year.
But there is nothing ordinary about Katie’s Lemonade, a stand set up annually by 11-year-old Katie Smith.
Smith, who is an upcoming sixth grader at Phil Campbell Elementary School, has operated a lemonade stand for the past two years at the Phil Campbell Hoedown Festival, but while many of her peers host lemonade stands to raise money for bicycles, toys or video games, Smith raises money for her community.
Smith had her very first lemonade stand in June 2011, only a month after the devastating tornadoes ripped through her small hometown.
Smith said she looked around at all the devastation and wanted to help somehow.
Finally she came up with the idea of a lemonade stand with the profits going toward rebuilding the PCES playground, which was severely damaged in the storm.
“The idea just kind of came to me,” Smith said. “I love homemade lemonade, especially my uncle’s, and it seemed like a good way to raise money.”
Smith said she chose to support the playground because it was something that was important to her and to her classmates.
“It was sad to see all the destruction all around the school and I thought if we could do something to make it look better, then everyone would feel a little better,” she said.
With the help of her grandmother, Martha Smith, and other members of her family, Smith’s lemonade stand was up and running for the 2011 Hoedown Festival.
“It was a big success,” Smith said. “I was really surprised at all the people who came by, but I was able to raise over $300 that I donated to the new playground project.”
After her first foray into philanthropy, Smith decided she really enjoyed giving back to her community and decided to make the lemonade stand an annual event to raise money for worthy projects.
“Last year I had the lemonade stand again at the Hoedown Festival and raised over $200,” she said.
“I decided to donate that money to my classroom so everyone could go on a fieldtrip to see the ‘Peter Pan’ play.”
For the third year in a row, Smith will be selling her lemonade at this year’s festival to raise money for new books for the PCES library.
“I just started noticing that there aren’t as many books as there could be and that the younger kids need lots of choices for things to read,” Smith said.
“Reading is important and I want them to be able to learn and enjoy the books they are reading.”
PCES principal Jackie Ergle said Smith’s giving spirit is something kids and adults alike could be inspired by.
“Katie has such a kind and generous heart and she is always thinking about other people,” Ergle said.
“Most children her age aren’t worried about their school or community, but Katie has been concerned with these things since she was nine years old.
“It’s so inspiring to watch her put in such hard work for her lemonade stand and then give all the profits to a cause she believes is worthy.
“I’m very proud of her and the good work she continues to do for her community and her school.”
Smith said she planned to host the lemonade stand every summer until she graduated from high school.
“I really love Phil Campbell,” she said. “This is where my family lives and where I grew up and I just want to do my part to make it a better place.”
For those who want to support Smith in her fundraising endeavors, Katie’s Lemonade will be set up at the 2013 Phil Campbell Hoedown Festival this Friday and Saturday in downtown Phil Campbell.