Young entrepreneurs, philanthropists sell lemonade for a sweet cause

Emily Broadbridge, 12, and her brother Michael, 8, operate their Happy Day Lemonade Stand on June 1 from their front yard in Macomb Township. The stand, which Emily has operated since 2011 (Michael started in 2015) has raised more than $32,000 for charity in seven years.

Emily and Michael’s Happy Day Lemonade Stand raises $10K for homeless kids

Macomb Township — Two children selling lemonade in their front yard to the community is pretty ordinary.

Making more than $10,000 dollars in one day doing it is extraordinary.

Giving away all that money to help homeless students in the community is something that is truly remarkable.

On June 1, 12-year-old Emily Broadbridge and her 8-year-old brother, Michael, brought in $10,033.25 in sponsorships, donations and lemonade sales from the front yard of their Macomb Township home.

Twenty-nine local businesses and organizations sponsor Emily and Michael’s Happy Day Lemonade Stand, which Emily has been operating every first Saturday of June since 2011 in honor of Lemonade Day, a national initiative that encourages children to learn entrepreneurship while raising money for local nonprofits.

Emily Broadbridge, right, chats with a customer June 1 while operating her lemonade stand with her brother, Michael. The siblings say the stand allows them to help other children who are less fortunate by raising money for school supplies for homeless kids.

“We’ve been amazed with all the attention we’ve been getting,” said Emily, who along with Michael and their parents, Kirk and Kim, are parishioners of St. Margaret of Scotland in St. Clair Shores. “It started as a regular lemonade stand in 2011 when I was in kindergarten and has grown into this.”

Emily and Michael’s Happy Day Lemonade (Michael joined the team in 2015) has been featured in the Macomb Daily and has even been mentioned on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI 10th District).

“This year’s lemonade stand went fantastic; we had a lot of support from the community,” Emily said. “We also had sponsorships and donations that came in before the day started. We usually spend a month and a half planning it, starting with general planning about what we want to happen. Then we write letters, make thank-you calls, sponsorship calls, give speeches to the (Macomb County) Board of Commissioners, and the school boards.”

Somewhere in there, the Wyandotte Middle School and Cherokee Elementary School students find time to do their homework.

When Emily had her first lemonade stand in 2011, she raised $61.97 for God’s Helping Hands, a Rochester nonprofit providing food and clothing for those in need. Since then, the lemonade stand’s proceeds have grown exponentially, totaling $32,571.66 over seven years. Not bad when you consider the lemonade itself doesn’t have a formal price, just a free-will offering.

“The secret is we have a really great community that always helps us out,” Emily said. “They care about the children and what’s going on, and they’re always here to help us. It makes us feel very appreciative and noticeable because they’re always here to help and support us.”

Since 2012, Emily and Michael have chosen the Macomb Intermediate School District’s Homeless Education Project as the beneficiaries of the sales and donations because they wanted to help their fellow students.

“It’s a charity we can relate to because we’re kids, and we know how it feels at school,” Michael said. “And we like making good lemonade. This year we had 29 sponsors who raised about $6,500.”

Emily and Michael’s stand features yellow, pink and sugar-free lemonade, along with their own version of an Arnold Palmer (lemonade and iced tea). This year also featured a special strawberry-flavored lemonade.

“I think we make a great team,” said Michael, who credits his sister for showing him the ropes. “The key is you have to work fast and be cooperative.”

The lemonade stand is a party in itself, with every customer seeming to want to take pictures with the two young entrepreneurs. Even the Macomb Fire Department stopped by to get a glass of lemonade on a hot day.

“I first heard about Emily and Michael in April 2014 when I started this job, and it really touched my heart because of the generosity of these children, trying to help other children,” said Mary Lebioda, a school health consultant for the Macomb Intermediate School District. “We use their donations to buy backpacks for homeless kids filled with school supplies, hygiene items, hats, gloves, and when we can, a $25 Meijer gift card.”

Lebioda estimates that next to the local Kiwanis and Optimist clubs, Emily and Michael might be the third-largest donors to the MISD Homeless Education Project.

“I think when you have children spearheading the project, it makes adults stop and go, ‘Woah,’” Lebioda said. “If children are doing this much, what are we doing as adults?”

Lebioda estimates a backpack full of supplies costs about $100, meaning since 2013, Emily and Michael’s lemonade stand has raised enough for an estimated 300 backpacks for homeless students. All from selling lemonade.

“We want to show how easy it can be to make a difference when you think big and you work hard to make it big,” Emily said. “Some people can do a little, so raise a little and donate a little; it all makes a difference. But we want to show that no matter who you are, you can always make a difference.”


Do your part

Join Michael and Emily in their cause to help homeless students in Macomb County by contacting Mary Lebioda at (586) 228-3490, or email her at [email protected].