PRINCETON — This week children from around the state are going back to school, but before their kids hit the books a group of moms wanted them to do something to help others in need.

The end result, according to Jennifer Mermans, was a group of her friends decided it was a good opportunity to open a lemonade stand to help the Red Cross' efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. They had no idea that their efforts would raise upwards of $3,000.

"We just got together and decided that we thought the kids should get involved somehow and do something good for the community," she said.

The stand was held last Friday, but several days later Mermans said the money was still coming in.

"I think we were just talking about how horrible it was that the hurricane had come and the impact that it had on the community in Texas," she said. "We thought that we wanted the kids to somehow have an understanding of that, but not just give money out of their own pocketbook."

The kids taking part in the sale ranged from fifth to seventh grade. Mermans said the original plan was to involve a group of 7th grade boys, but that the siblings ended up joining the effort to help raise money.

In an effort to help the kids raise more money, the moms used social media to help spread the word about the sale. That included a link on their Facebook pages to donate to the American Red Cross, and also an email blast to help raise awareness of the sale. By the time the first half hour was done, Mermans said they had raised $300, and only saw that number climb from there.

"It was pretty amazing," she said. "The funds just kept coming in. The whole Princeton community stopped by it seemed like and just wanted to help."

The stand offered lemonade and cookies, and Mermans said rather than a set price they asked people to donate what they wanted to. She said over the course of the day some people gave change, while others gave more, including a group of kids that brought a $50 bill.

One of the more memorable parts for the kids, according to Mermans, was when a group of the kids who went to "drum up some business" down the street met a man who had been displaced from his home in Texas and was staying in town.

"That was interesting that they actually talked to someone who had been involved and actually had to leave Texas and find another place to live temporarily," she said.

What started as a fun and educational way to end the summer became much more for the kids, and Mermans said she was glad they could do their small part to help in a much larger effort.

"I think it says a lot about the Princeton community," she said. "I think people were willing to come out, they're willing to donate money, and I'm sure we'll continue to see that as is evidenced by the fact that people are still emailing us and they're still making donations on Facebook."

Mermans said the kids will be bringing the donation right to the local chapter of the Red Cross on Wednesday so they can understand just where the money is going. Click here to make your own donation to the organization's relief efforts.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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