Making lemonade, raising funds

REED CITY - What’s that saying? If life gives you lemons, make lemonade?

For hundreds of children attending G.T. Norman Elementary School in Reed City, it was a lesson that was learned in a third grade class, and it grew and grew until it involved the whole school.

The children and faculty learned that no one is alone in whatever it is they have to go through, and it can be made much easier when you know others care.

That was the lesson one teacher wanted to be sure her children learned, and she was pleasantly shocked at the results.

For Pam Bloom, it has been a journey, this life as a teacher. She has helped the children she teaches to cope with many things. With maybe a grandma dying or even a mom. She has helped them understand the loneliness that our military men and women face, and how much a package from home, even from little strangers, can mean.

She has been there with them when servicemen and women came back to the states and took time to visit the classroom, and stopped by to say thanks. And she has helped them deal with the reality that sometimes war does mean some people die, even their pen-pals they traded pictures with, wrote letters to, sent gifts to, and wore a dog tag bearing his or her name.

Last week, her third grade class took on a first-time project at the school. They decided to sell lemonade. They decided a lot of people probably didn’t like lemonade because it was sour, but there was some discussion about how sometimes even life is sour. Sometimes people have to go through sour times and we don’t really know why, they were told, then they talked about some of those times.

During a period of time, they had talked about people being sick, and things like a dread disease called cancer. It’s a lemon. And they talked about how no matter how little you are you can help others.

And so it was that the decision was made to sell lemonade, and whatever money was collected they would donate to the American Cancer Society. They would use that money, the children learned, to try to help others, and hopefully, find a cure so people didn’t get real sick anymore from that disease.

Mrs. Bloom said she had no clue how well the sale would go. After all, a lot of people might not like the taste of lemonade, and not buy it. But buy it they did.

She initially had 600 little cups on hand. As more and more took their turn pouring out of the school to buy a cup of lemonade for a quarter, the 600 cups disappeared. A call was put out to go get more. Another 200 was quickly gone through, and soon they were searching a supply closet to come up with more.

Some of the third graders wore sandwich-board signs, trodding up and down the halls to advertise the lemonade sale. Others helped pour the lemonade at a neat little stand outside, and still others collected the quarters.

As the children made their way to the lemonade stand, they shared with Mrs. Bloom that they had a grandma with cancer, or their mommy has it. Or a neighbor. Or a boy up the street. She remembers feeling amazed at how many shared that. And she felt sad.

These children, the third grade class at Norman and their teacher also know somebody with cancer. It is an 8-year-old boy. That story will be featured next week.

In the meantime, anyone wishing to donate a quarter (or more) for an imaginary cup of lemonade now that the sale is over, would undoubtedly be thanked for their kindness. The money would be given to the cancer society on behalf of the class who has this neat little friend who is an inspiration to all who meet him.

So is Mrs. Bloom and her third grade class at Norman Elementary School. They raised $193.75 selling lemonade that day after expenses. One quarter at a time. Just awesome.

And the little boy? Just awesome too. Meet him next week.