Weather Forecast


Girls launch lemonade stand for a cause, benefitting Northwoods Coalition for Family Safety

From left, Maggie Buckanaga and Mariah Dobson accept thanks and congratulations from Northwoods Coalition for Family Safety Executive Director Mary Olson and Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp, a shelter board member. The girls donated the proceeds from their lemonade stand to the shelter. Pioneer Photo/Molly Miron

Lemonade stands are fixtures of summer for some youngsters.

Maggie Buckanaga, 12, and her friend, Mariah Dobson, 11, put a twist on the business by donating the proceeds of their Aug. 14 enterprise in the J.W. Smith Elementary School parking lot to the Bemidji shelter, a branch of the Northwoods Coalition for Family Safety.

The girls presented $15 to the shelter, keeping back $5 of proceeds to pay for their supplies of lemonade.

They said they set up their lemonade stand at J.W. Smith because the school is near their homes so they could refill their pitchers easily. And they liked the flow of people in the neighborhood.

"It's nice traffic because it's slow traffic," Maggie said.

The girls said they didn't put a sign up indicating they were going to donate the money to the shelter, but they told their customers.

"We sold lemonade for a quarter, but people put a dollar in," Mariah said.

"We thought that people needed the money more than we do," said Maggie.

The girls said they discussed whether to donate to the shelter or to the Bemidji Community Food Shelf, two nonprofits they are familiar with.

They said they decided on the shelter because they believe the food shelf receives more support from the community.

"She just turned 12," said Maggie's mother, Dana Morris. "So we're having those conversations about safety and (good) decisions."

Because the address of the shelter is confidential for the safety of residents, the girls took the money to the Law Enforcement Center and asked an officer to deliver the lemonade stand proceeds.

On Friday, Maggie and Mariah met with Mary Olson, the Northwoods Coalition for Family Safety executive director, and Beltrami County Sheriff Phill Hodapp, a member of the shelter board.

Olson read a letter of thanks to Maggie and Mariah.

"Over the years, we've received a lot of help and support from the community," Olson read. "We are so impressed, though, that 12-year-old young ladies already are thinking about others in the community, wanting to donate your hard-earned money instead of buying something for yourselves. We want you to know that, although we don't share the names of our residents or publicize our location, everyone here is aware of your thoughtfulness and appreciates it greatly."