They are doing it with the help of a simple lemonade stand. It is how some River Forest neighbors show their "Spirit of Giving."
Neighbors in the 700 block of Bonnie Brae in suburban River Forest are decorating their street for their upcoming block party. But instead of balloons and streamers, it's hand-made banners and a 911 flag.
"A group of moms were standing outside chatting as we often did and one of the moms said we have to do something," said organizer Elizabeth Strand. "We have to do something. We can't let this anniversary go by without doing something."
With the help of their little ones, the moms decided to set up a lemon-aid stand and give the proceeds to local charities. The first year they raised $400. To date, they've raised $73,000 and have donated to eleven different organizations.
"It's kids helping kids, so we try to help children," said 16-year-old Maddie Strand. "But besides that it's so hard to narrow all of them down. There are so many good options."
While many of the children participating are too young to remember or were not even born when the twin towers were attacked, they understand this is a way to keep the conversation alive and to bring good out of evil.
"When I was 4 or 5, I didn't really understand what happened. I just knew it was a sad time. But it has meaning now," Maddie said.
"I think it's important to give back to the community," said 16-year-old Riley Edmunds. "We have been given so much and we have this opportunity. It doesn't take much, a few helping hands. We all come together. It works out really well."
This year's proceeds will build a new playground for children with special needs. The neighbors are hoping to raise at least $27,000 so their cumulative total will top $100,000. One of the students has set up a website for more information and to make online donations.
For more information: www.9-11LemonAid.com