Eden Prairie lemonade stand in honor of 9/11 continues tradition

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While 17 years have passed since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, an Eden Prairie neighborhood continues to pay tribute to those who were killed and to those who serve our country.

On a normally quiet corner in the Olympic Hills neighborhood, a history lesson is told through chocolate chips and a sweet summertime treat.

"The Twin Towers got knocked down and a lot of people died, and it’s really sad," said Kendall Hoag, a 13-year-old working the charity lemonade stand.

Sue Donkersgoed started the cookies and lemonade stand a few days after September 11, 2001 with four kids as a way to raise money for the victims of the World Trade Center disaster.

"We did the New York City Police Museum because we thought that was important," said Donkersgoed.

Over the last 17 years, it has grown into a neighborhood tradition even though the original volunteers have grown up and been replaced by volunteers who weren't even born when 9/11 happened.

"Today, these parents are bringing their kids up the block and explaining it to them and talking about it," said Donkersgoed. “The kids I meet, I spend time with them to better understand what happened on 9/11 and to understand we give back and we never forget."

So far, the stand has raised more than $26,000 for charities usually involving veterans to thank them for their service. One year, they raised enough to buy a tree at the 9/11 Memorial in New York. 

This year's proceeds will go to Camp Gratitude, a free summer camp for military families.

"It’s really gratifying,” said Jessie Farrell, one of the original children who first worked the stand. “It’s fun to see the kids get involved in the neighborhood and meaningful in a big way to understand why we do it."

After all, they say if life gives you lemons, what else can you do but make lemonade.

"Just remember what 9/11 is about and that it’s a big deal that something happened to our country and to remember all the people who risked their lives and died on this day," said Hoag.

Organizers expect to raise about $2,000 for Camp Gratitude this year. They say the stand just seems to get bigger every year.