Written by Michelle Bruhn
Three-year-old Hannah, of St. Louis Park, MN, heard about the housing crisis in Haiti from Jina Lee at New City Covenant Church, where they both attend, after Lee returned from a mission trip to Haiti. After seeing pictures and hearing the story of a Haitian widow and her children still living in a tent amid the ruins of their home left after the January 2010 earthquake, Hannah was determined to help the family.
Hannah decided the best way for her to raise money was to enlist four friends, and their Moms, to help her open a stand to sell homemade lemonade and cookies. They picked a hot, sunny day in August and sold $89 worth of goodies. One of the Moms even donated the use of an “inflatable jumping room” to keep younger siblings occupied while Hannah and her friends sold their wares.
When Hannah, her brother Patrick, and mother Emily came to World Wide Village in St. Paul to personally donate the money raised, her mother said, “The idea was all Hannah’s. After hearing about Jina’s mission trip to Haiti with World Wide Village, and seeing pictures of the widow and her two children, and learning that the father had been killed in the earthquake, Hannah looked at me and simply announced, ‘I’m want to build them a home.’”
Hannah held up the jar containing the profits from the lemonade stand and said, “This is for them to build a home.” Everyone at World Wide Village was touched by the story and inspired by Hannah’s actions.
Hannah wanted to make sure that her friends, Olivia & Noah Asanji, and their mother Carrie, as well as Maddy & Maria Fernands and their mother Katie, got credit for all their help. “Olivia and Noah made the signs,” Hannah reported, “and Maddy and Maria helped sell the cookies and lemonade.”
Hannah and her friends raised exactly $89 to donate to World Wide Village. Pat Mortensen, Administrative Director for World Wide Village, said it was inspiring to “see a child as young as Hannah learning about giving to others in such a profound way.”
When asked “What’s next?” for Hannah and her younger brother Patrick, their mother said, “They’re too young to go on a mission trip yet, but we’re already considering it sometime in the future.”