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Lillie sells lemonade so fourth-graders can enjoy a field trip

By Maggie Blackwell
For the Salisbury Post

Nine-year-old Lillie Martin is busy helping others, one lemon at a time.

Lillie’s fourth-grade class at Hanford Dole is taking a field trip later this year to the Biltmore. Only 13 students have paid for the field trip, and Lillie is selling lemonade to raise the money for others to go.

“I love history, so I’m really excited to see the Biltmore,” Lillie says. “Then I thought about all the other students who love history, and they should see it, too. My mom said that’s a great idea, so we decided to do it.”

Lillie reels off numbers like the businesswoman she is. There are 19 students in her class and the trip costs $40 a person. That’s $760.

Lillie has worked hard selling lemonade at her home, at the car show in China Grove, Salisbury Farmers’ Market and North Rowan High football games.

Now that she’s met the goal of helping everyone in her class, she is working to help the entire fourth grade go. When she proposed the idea to her mom, she replied, “Well, I guess we need to sell more lemonade.”

There are 74 students in the fourth grade. She still needs to raise money for 36 more students, and she’s optimistic about reaching her goal.

Lillie started the lemonade stand earlier this year when she and her dad found a Coca-Cola stand at the flea market. They picked it up and got lemon fabric from Walmart to cover the Coke symbols. Lillie’s dad drilled a hole for an umbrella and helped her customize the stand. She cuts a lemon in half, squeezes it, and adds sugar water and ice.

Lillie’s dad taught her how to make lemonade, but in an ironic twist of fate, Lillie fired him from making it anymore when she caught him adding two lemons instead of one. “It’s too sour that way,” she smiles.

Initially she sold lemonade to buy a pool for the backyard. In another spate of numbers, she explains that it cost $300, and it’s 16 feet wide and 4 feet deep. It was a great deal, she insists, and included the ladder and pump. Her brother Levi helped her get pool toys and floats. Now they invite friends to come over and swim.

Maggie Blackwell/For the Salisbury Post Lillie Martin stands next to the sign for her lemonade business on Long Ferry Road.

After reaching her goal with the pool, Lillie went on to raise funds for Harmony Funds Animal Rescue. Next, her church took a mission trip to Kentucky to provide school supplies at a high-poverty town. Lillie sold enough lemonade to provide the cost of the trip for her family — fuel, housing and food — as well as the school supplies to give away.

The church returns to Kentucky this winter for a Christmas trip. Lillie’s looking forward to funding that one, too, and to wearing an elf costume to dole out coats, hats and scarves.

Lillie has become a bit of a celebrity with her lemonade stand on Long Ferry Road. The Miller’s Ferry fire department has supported her; a supervisor at Buck Steam Station who treated his whole team. Lillie was thrilled with all the vehicles in the yard.

Mom Jennifer Martin says when Lillie’s out in public with her, people often call out, “Hey, you’re that lemonade girl!” Lillie smiles and nods her head.

Jennifer says Lillie’s quite meticulous about her methods.

“When I sell lemonade, I remember the rules.,” Lillie says. “I wash everything when we unload. We organize the $5s with the heads all facing the right way. My mom counts after me to be sure I counted right. I take 10 percent out to give to Jesus. Now I’ve gotten my dad to give his tithes. He got jealous of me.”

Lillie’s principal at Hanford Dole is Dr. Stephanie Sanders. “I think one of the things that impresses me the most is that Lillie’s actions line up with the Rowan-Salisbury School core values, which is to serve. What she’s doing is very honorable. It teaches us as adults just what can happen when you set a goal and follow through on the steps to achieve it.”

Jennifer says when Lillie gets offers to set up her stand, the parents ask Lillie before responding. “She’s a kid,” she says, “and that comes first.”

Lillie’s lemonade is offered in original or limeade. Cherry or strawberry flavoring are available. You can find Lillie’s Lemonade on Long Ferry Road and at North Rowan High home games, just beside the Cavalier bleachers. You can learn more about her progress on Facebook; her page is called “Lillie’s Lemonade Stand.”

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