Lemonade stand fuels fundraising for Mass. firefighters' gym

A lack of treadmills at local firefighter departments inspired two girls to jumpstart community fundraising

By Garrin Marchetti
The Eagle-Tribune

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — The North Andover Fire Department Central Station has numerous new features and amenities, from an equipment decontamination room to beds for firefighters and a modern-day training room.

But during a recent visit, one family noticed something was missing: a treadmill for the station's gym, another addition to the Chickering Road station, which was completed last fall.

So Lisa Roberts and her two daughters, Cadence and Allie, decided to take matters into their own hands using a classic fundraising model.

Roberts and her daughters have started their own lemonade stand fundraiser to benefit the fire department and purchase a new treadmill for the gym, and they are also asking the public's help with their goal.

When Roberts and Allie, 8, took a tour of the Chickering Road station with Allie's friend several months ago, they marveled at the new building, but were surprised when they came to the gym and saw no treadmill.

"I'm a pretty active runner myself, so when I saw they didn't have one, I was really surprised," Roberts said from the family's North Andover home Thursday.

Neil Patnaude, one of the firefighters who gave Roberts and Allie a tour that day, explained to her how most of the equipment had been donated, but treadmills were not easy to come by and were too expensive to purchase.

When Roberts and Allie returned home from their tour, they began to brainstorm ways to help out the firefighters. For Allie, the reason to get a treadmill for the station gym was simple.

"They (firefighters) need to be able to run fast and be strong," Allie said Thursday. "They need to save lives!"

Roberts, Allie and Cadence, 11, got to work. Eventually, they came up with the idea to start a lemonade stand fundraiser, with multiple families involved.

Roberts created three red signs with the words "Lemonade Fundraiser for our Firemen" in yellow lettering printed on the front. They also have two firefighter boots to further signify their allegiance to the fire department.

The Roberts opened their stand first on April 24, and the results spoke for themselves: According to Roberts, the stand yielded nearly $154 in sales in three hours. Patnaude and fellow firefighter Ryan Nicolosi stopped by the sale in their fire truck, as did Fire Chief William McCarthy.

With three signs, Roberts said she has reached out to friends in the community to help raise money. Under the rules of the project, a friend can "sign out" one sign for a day and set up their own stand outside their home.

All participants must provide their own table, lemonade and cups, and must return the sign by the end of the day of their sale, Roberts said.

"We've already gotten a great response, so we're confident we can reach our goal (to buy the treadmill)," Roberts said.

The Roberts' hope to raise enough money to purchase a $3,000 treadmill. Any more money raised will go toward workout equipment for the fire department's other station, 9 Salem St., which also has been in need of new workout equipment, Roberts said.

A new treadmill would give firefighters not just an opportunity to run in their gym, but also run and walk wearing their firefighting gear, a workout technique common among firefighters.

"Some people don't know, but that equipment gets pretty heavy. If we could get our gear on and simulate walking around on a fire ground, it'd be pretty beneficial to us," Patnaude said via telephone Thursday. "If anyone is able to donate, we'd really appreciate it."

Those interested in donating to the cause or seeking more information can contact Roberts at lisa@lisarobertspr.com.

Copyright 2016 The Eagle-Tribune

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