Lemonade stand: Ohio kids raise more than $125,000 for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
A group of kids in Ohio are going viral for their generosity — and raising thousands of dollars for charity in the process.
Hillary Weidner announced the heartwarming story on her Instagram page last month, where she shared a photo of her children — along with her best friend Amanda Zerbe's kids — launching their own fundraiser for the Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
"First annual lemonade stand turned a $148 profit to be donated to @cincychildrens #thankyouforyourbusiness *shout out to Zerbes for hand squeezing 8,473,727 lemons," the post read.
That $148 profit was an impressive haul for 5-year-old Zach Zerbe, who brainstormed the idea with his mom over Labor Day weekend. But that amount quickly became something much larger: Exactly one month later, the children had earned more than $125,000.
So how did the kids to it? Weidner's social media posts about the campaign had started to gain some traction, as more and more people began sending money to her Venmo account, which she shared last month with a photo of the children.
Last week, Weidner shared an update, letting her followers know that the campaign had grown into a $50,000 effort.
"THEY’VE GONE VIRAL! what started out as a $148 donation from their lemonade stand has turned into over $50,000 in matching donations to @cincychildrens," a post shared to both Instagram and Facebook read.
The viral fundraising effort even got help from a few famous donors.
"Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper are coming to Cincinnati and we have tickets, so I pinged them on my Instagram story asking if they wanted some lemonade," Weidner told "Good Morning America." "Andy then mentioned it on his Sirius XM show and pledged $5,000 to our cause on behalf of him and Anderson."
Thanks to media coverage, social shares and some celebrity help, more than $125,000 is now going toward a cause that's extremely personal for the Weidner family.
Weidner told "Good Morning America" that her oldest daughter, Beatrice, was born with a rare liver disease and was in desperate need of a transplant. Doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital were able to determine that Weidner was a good match for her daughter — a finding that possibly saved Beatrice's life.
"It was a crazy, traumatic, amazing experience," Weidner told "Good Morning America." "We owe so much to the hospital."
That experience instilled a sense of gratitude in Weidner, one she wanted to teach her children — and now thousands of others — through their fundraising campaign.
"Our job as parents of little kids is to raise a generation of givers," Weidner said. "This was our teeny way of showing them that they can raise money for people who need it more than they do. We hope that when they’re older they will look back on this and feel excited and empowered."
It's unclear how much more the kids could end up raising, but Weidner and Zerbe said they'd like to make the lemonade stand a yearly event. In the meantime, Weidner said that anyone who would like to donate can send money to her Venmo account: @hillary-weidner.