Grant Stout, 5 years-old, and his father Clayton Stout stand behind the Lemonade stand at 706 Hill Rise Drive in Johnson City. The Saturday lemonade event is to raise money for the Niswonger Children's Hospital. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
At only 5 years old, Grant Stout is already giving back to the community and doing so in his own way — giving away lemonade.
Grant, along with neighbor Cookie McKinney, manager of Children’s Initiatives with the Niswonger Children’s Hospital, and his family and friends, will be setting up for a second year of Grant’s Lemonade Stand, which collects donations for the children’s hospital.
According to his father, Johnson City Vice Mayor Clayton Stout, Grant was born at 28 weeks and weighed 2 pounds, 5 ounces.
“He was very premature, so we spent 90 days in the (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at the children’s hospital here in Johnson City,” Clayton Stout said. “We just felt extremely blessed by our experience there and how thoughtful the care was. We wanted to be able to give back to this organization, so Grant came up with a great idea to raise some money with a lemonade stand.”
McKinney, who hosts the large yellow lemonade stand in her front yard, 706 Hillrise Boulevard, said last year they raised $1,200 in donations.
“Grant and I, having been friends for almost four years now, have shared lemonade every summer. Last summer, knowing the needs are great at Niswonger, we wanted to initiate a program called ‘Children Helping Children,’ so we decided if we could have a lemonade stand, that would be a great way to make some extra money,” she said. “We wanted it to be reminiscent of childhood long ago, very simple. It’s a great neighborhood project and we were thrilled last year to have so many people come out who had followed Grant’s journey as a neonatal intensive care unit patient. He’s one of our many success stories,” she said.
McKinney said this Saturday, Grant’s Lemonade Stand will be open again in her front yard from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and said they hope for another successful year of donations for the children’s hospital.
She said the money donated will be presented during the 2014 Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon in March.
McKinney said last year, children with fundraising projects, like Grant’s Lemonade Stand, brought big checks to the radiothon, which they referred to as “Change for Kids.” She said last year’s radiothon event raised approximately $125,000 for the children’s hospital.
“Not only was it change in money, but change in helping patients and patients’ families lives down the road. We hope everybody will come out. We are giving away the lemonade. It’s simply a donation,” McKinney said.
She said The Kite Society, made up of a group of women who help the hospital, will have brownies and cookies at the lemonade stand on Saturday. McKinney said everyone is welcome at Saturday’s event, including pets.
Clayton Stout said Grant and his family and friends will be manning the stand and said he hopes the project continues on.
“Hopefully, we can continue to grow it, expand it and be able to reach out to the community for more support and ... as Grant gets older we might be able to do things different, but right now this is something that he enjoys and we all enjoy doing it once a year,” he said.
McKinney said in case of rain, the lemonade stand will be moved to her garage.