Left, 8-year-old Sarah Connor started her first lemonade stand outside of her Northport home, raising money for a cause. Right, Connor, now 17, and brother William, operate the LemonAid stand at last year’s Cow Harbor Race.
By Janee Law
When she was 8 years old, Northport’s Sarah Connor started her first lemonade stand to raise money for disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina.
Connor, now 17 and a senior at Northport High School, said her mission for the stand shifted towards environmental purposes after her favorite street tree, a flowering cherry tree, was cut down.
“I used to walk up to my elementary school and there was one specific cherry tree that was by my house that I would walk under and I loved it as a little kid,” Connor said. “Then the town ended up cutting it down and I decided I wanted to raise money to replace it and I then I found other places in town where trees needed to be replaced and I ended up replanting those to.”
LemonAid was officially founded as a nonprofit in 2008, three years after the original stand.
Today, it raises money to plant trees locally, raise awareness for environmental issues and help get kids more involved, Connor said. The stand also sells handmade lemon soap and takes pre-orders from those marching in parades, such as the Cow Harbor Parade and Northport Memorial Day Parade. Connor planned to raise funds during this year’s Memorial Day parade, but it was cancelled due to weather.
Through her lemonade stand, raffles, and change jars on the counters of Northport merchants, Connor raised enough money to plant 18 flowering cherry trees along Main Street and has replaced another cherry tree that died at Ocean Avenue Elementary School.
Since it began, Connor said she has planted approximately 22 local trees and depending on the size, each tree planted ranges from $200-$300.
Over the years, Connor said this cause has helped her break out of her shell and helped her work closer with people within the community.
“I really like being able to have a good impact on my town, and make it a little more beautiful and little cleaner,” Connor said. “I love the environment and trees and to have a way to do something to help raise money and actually make a difference is really nice.”
Now that Connor will be attending Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for costume design, her last mission with the cause will be focused on planting trees at Northport Middle School and Northport High School this summer.
Connor hopes to speak with the principals of each school to plan out where she can plant the trees before she leaves for college in August.