At only six years old, Matthew Egan has a heart so big it might astonish people.
Last Tuesday, Egan ran a lemonade stand outside his grandparent’s house on Colonization Road West here.
But what’s different was that he didn’t charge people for the lemonade, but instead collected voluntary donations to a charity of his choice.
His mother, Nicole, said the initiative began when her son noticed a lemonade stand on the cover of Tompkins Hardware Magazine and asked his parents to build it for him.
“His dad built him the stand and I painted it, and then we asked him what he would sell at the stand and he said, ‘What do you mean sell?’
“And we said, ‘Matthew, that’s what you do.’”
“I just wanted to give [the lemonade] away for free and people could keep their money for something else,” the youngster reasoned.
“And if they did give me money, I didn’t want to keep it.”
“We said to him that people might have a hard time getting lemonade and not wanting to donate money, so we showed him about charities,” his mother recalled.
“We told him what a charity was and what a donation was, where it would go, and that’s how he picked the Ronald McDonald [House] charity.”
“I wanted to donate it to the Ronald McDonald House so kids can get better,” Egan explained.
“I just like to help people.”
Ronald McDonald Houses help families with hospitalized children who are receiving treatment.
It also provides children and families with a number of programs to help them cope during difficult times.
Ronald McDonald Houses provide more than 7,200 bedrooms to families around the world each night, with an estimated value of $257 million in lieu of hotel costs.
Egan wound up raising $339 during the two hours he had his lemonade stand open.
What’s important to note was that he chose a day when the road happened to be closed on both sides.
But with a great turnout of family, friends, and random passers-by, they were able to meet someone who had been affected by the organization.
“This boy, who was in his 20s, [and] his girlfriend stopped by and he came up and was going to get a glass,” Egan’s mom recounted.
“Matthew said, ‘Oh it’s free’ and he said, ‘No, no’ and gave us change,” she noted.
“My husband explained to him what Matthew was doing so he went back to his truck, got more money, and said, ‘Thank you very much; my brother stayed at the Ronald McDonald House.’
“I said to Matthew, ‘See, you’ve already touched someone’s life,’” his mom added.
“It was our second customer and it was pretty nice just to know that someone appreciated it, too.”
The six-year-old said he plans to hold another stand to raise more money for the charity in the near future.
“We can’t really hold him back,” said his mom.
“Dave and I said, ‘We’ve never done anything like this, so if we can support him and buy the lemonade, get the cups, and take him wherever he wants to go and support him that way, then that’s how we’ll do it,” she remarked.
“We’re so proud of him; so, so proud of him.”