Lake Oswego, July 17th, 2013. “When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade!” That was the message supporters embraced at a benefit at the home of Eric and Stephanie Fifer in Lake Oswego. The party raised over $3,000 to help Portland foster children do some needed back-to-school shopping, made possible through a special program called Project Lemonade. With merchandising help from Mario’s staff, Project Lemonade volunteers collect clothing and create a special store for the kids.
At the event highlights included performances by Tom Grant and vocalist Craig Irby Jr. Board member Rhonda Meadows provided her personal story explaining why she started the nonprofit. She found herself welcoming a foster child into her own home but he arrived with only a brown paper bag and almost nothing in it. While taking this young boy shopping for much needed clothing and personal items, he was overwhelmed with being able to choose brand new items; his first ever.
From Project Lemonade:
Our program gives Portland area foster children the unique opportunity to shop for new and nearly new clothing to start the school year at no charge to them or their foster families. Volunteers work tirelessly to offer the over 2,000 Portland foster children with, what for some, could be their first shopping experience. Caring individuals collect clothing and accessory donations and then create a welcoming kid-friendly store. Many of these kids are two to three grade levels behind because they are moved from place to place with no where to call home. They often blame themselves for what has happened which can effect their self image dramatically. The generosity of many of Portland’s largest clothing retailers and manufacturers, as well as countless individual contributors, has made this positive experience possible. Children can choose clothing that fits their taste, personal and style — so important to the self image of every school-age child. The mission of Project Lemonade, a 501(c)(3), is based upon the belief that starting the school year with new clothes gives children greater confidence and builds their self-esteem so they feel good about themselves, regardless of their living situation and thereby increasing their prospects for success in the coming school year.