While many of us have spent our pandemic days sitting around and longing for a return to our old lives, Cartier Carey has been making the most of these strange and unusual times.
The 11-year-old boy has managed to safely help many people in his hometown of Hampton, Virginia through the use of that most iconic childhood business: the lemonade stand.
With the help of his four younger siblings and some friends, Cartier started selling lemonade to his neighbors around Hampton in July with a goal that was much bigger than scoring some extra coins for his piggy bank. He decided to use his profits to help single mothers who have struggled financially during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cartier and his family have documented the whole project on Instagram, under the account @kids4change757 (those last numbers are Hampton’s area code).
You can see that by the third day, Cartier, who is standing second from the left here, had added candy and snacks to his offerings. That’s diversification 101!
The neighborhood stand had an immediate impact, with Cartier’s efforts helping raise more than $4,500 in just two weeks to provide single moms with clothes, wipes and diapers and give essentials like snacks and personal hygiene items to people who are homeless.
A local woman who had previously struggled as a single mother herself was so moved by the display that she stopped to tell the boy how proud she was of his efforts.
“You are helping so many people, you have no idea,” the woman said while getting emotional in a video posted to Instagram. “People gave me diapers, you know? … You’re an amazing young man and you’re gonna go far.”
Each night when the stand closes, Cartier and his family take the money and buy carts full of items that they donate to shelters or hand out at local parks.
It didn’t take long for the project to attract media attention, as a local TV station, WTKR, profiled Cartier and gave him an award for his work in the community.
From there, he was invited to appear on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” where he told a national audience about his generous work.
“I just wanted to raise money and spread awareness about single mothers that are struggling during this pandemic,” Cartier said during his remote appearance on the show. “They’re doing everything on their own, so I just decided to help.”
The boy also told them that he and his mother have done work to help people who are homeless in Hampton by bagging up essentials like hand warmers, food and personal hygiene items into kits that they gave out when the weather got cold.
It’s tough to imagine a better story coming out of this awful summer than this one. Keep up the great work, Cartier!