Free Lemonade And Smiles For Minot, North Dakota

Published On: Sep 10 2011 07:55:42 PM PDT   Updated On: Jul 04 2011 01:24:21 AM PDT
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Cleanup from the flooding last month in Minot, North Dakota is slow but improving. The stories of struggle have inspired two Spokane boys to raise money for the Minot Red Cross.

On Sunday, RJ and Hunter Belanger, 11 and 7 respectively, set up a lemonade stand and offered free cups of the sweet stuff ? along with free smiles.

?We're just trying to help Minot, the flood,? RJ said.

Through the simplicity of a lemonade stand, RJ and Hunter are learning a life lesson: how to help others.

?It's sad that they're all losing their homes and it's the least, it's the least we can do,? RJ said.

Early on in their quest for donations, someone came with a dozen donuts and gave them to the boys to sell along with their lemonade. Then, a few minutes later, a couple stopped by and dropped $20 in their donation jar for two cups of lemonade.

This isn't the first time they've hocked lemonade for Minot. The boys set up a lemonade stand last Sunday, too. It was an idea inspired by two girls they found on Facebook who were also trying to raise money for Minot flood victims.

?I thought maybe we could do that, too,? RJ said.

Twenty dollars here, fifty cents there, the boys' donation jar quickly filled up. Which is a good thing since Hunter has big goals.

?I want to raise a billion dollars for the Red Cross,? Hunter said. He knows for sure that a billion dollars is at least more than a million, so they've got a shot.

RJ and Hunter are motivated by family. Their mother is from Minot, their uncle lost his home in the floods and their grandfather and cousins have all been displaced.

Paula Belanger, with tears in her eyes, reflected on how their family has come full circle. She grew up in Minot, she met her husband there, and now her boys are doing what they can to help her hometown.

?It almost makes you cry because they're just, they have big hearts and so that's, it's great,? Paula said.

When all is said and done the family is making the trip to Minot this summer. The boys plan to hand in the money themselves to the Red Cross.

?I want it to go to the Red Cross and help the people, help the houses,? RJ said.

They're two young brothers with a lemonade stand bringing out the best in Spokane.

UPDATE: By the end of their second Sunday lemonade stand, the boys had raised $300 and their father promised to match it.