CHARITIBLE GIVING: Eight-year-old raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Wyatt Dennis opened up shop a year ago - but in year two, he didn't expect business to take off like this.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Everyone grew up with a lemonade stand, but for eight-year-old Wyatt Dennis, that lemonade stand is doing more than making money – it’s hoping to change lives.
“She [Wyatt’s mom] scooped and poured and I stirred,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt opened up shop a year ago after his parents looked for a home in the Black Hills.
“Wyatt and I were sitting out on the deck one day while my husband is walking the property line and Wyatt said ‘mom, if we buy this house, I want to do a lemonade stand next year during Rally,’ and I said ‘that’s probably a pretty idea buddy’ and he didn’t let us forget about it,” said Robin Dennis, Wyatt’s mother.
Wyatt’s mission was to earn enough money for a Lego set, but his parents mission aimed at teaching him to work hard.
His stand offers free lemonade and water with nothing expected.
“It’s not about the money though, it’s about keeping the bikers hydrated,” Wyatt said.
But after day one – it became apparent this was going to be big.
“After about the first day, we sat down and said ‘ok we have to talk about this now’,” Robin said.
A plan for the funds that including giving back.
“50 percent goes into a savings account for college and then 30 percent will go to a charity of his choice and then he can get his Lego with the other part of it,” Robin said.
And thanks to a share on Facebook from a patron, business is booming.
“Last year, we started when I was seven and now, I’m internet famous. Now I’ve gone viral,” Wyatt said.
That one post acted as the fuel – helping Wyatt raise around $3,000 with donations still coming in.
The lemonade stand’s Venmo has also brought in nearly $2,000 overnight.
“This has far surpassed anything we could have ever imagined,” Robin said.
A post that’s bringing in business from across the country – like Chris Mitchell from Texas and Roy Fisher from Montana.
“I got a bunch of posts from people in Texas telling me to come by and donate money,” Mitchell said.
“This is actually my second time stopping and his dad’s post has made it up to Montana, too,” Fisher said.
All taking their time and money for a good cause. Wyatt is donating a portion of his proceeds to the Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“There’s nothing better that you can give to,” Mitchell said.
“Ya, I mean what better thing is there than giving to kids? I’m a sucker for a lemonade stand,” Fisher said.
But these small acts of kindness aren’t wasted on Robin or Wyatt.
“It’s just amazing and his donation is going to be pretty good this year,” Robin said.
If you’d like to buy some lemonade from Wyatt, his stand is located just off the Tilford exit ramp on Sturgis Road. You’ll find him there around noon everyday.