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Kids set up lemonade stand for Oklahoma tornado victims

9:36 AM, May 26, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, Fla. -- "Hi, can you buy some lemonade real quick?" Ryan Morris asks a woman walking up his driveway. "It's 50 cents."

For him, every cup of lemonade is helping a stranger.

"We love the people up in Oklahoma," the 9-year-old says. "We want to help them get their school back and their houses and family."

He doesn't have family or friends in Oklahoma, though he looks up to Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood, who are both from the state recently ravaged by a tornado. After seeing the damage on the news, Ryan and his 7-year-old brother, Alex, came to their mom with a plan.

'"Let's just give them all of our clothes and toys, mommy,'" their mom, Venita recalls them telling her. "My heart just dropped. My mouth dropped."

But the clothes and toys piled up into a yard sale, complete with lemonade and cookies that sold out quickly. The brothers set up shop outside their home in Bushnell on Saturday to raise money for people who lost their homes.

"I'm trying to help these people get all of their stuff back that they had, get their school back so they can learn about some more stuff, and help their families get back together again," Ryan says.

The money they raise will be donated to the Red Cross.

"It makes me cry," the boys' mother says. "Because they really do have a heart."

That heart and a hard day's work adds up to a lot of cash donations. But the final count means far less than what counts for Ryan.

"We all want them to be back together in this United States," Ryan says about those who lost loved ones in the storm. "We don't want them to go away. We want them to stay in our hearts." 

The Bradenton Police Department Explorers, a group made up of teenagers who are interested in public safety or military careers, is putting on a gift card drive. Through Tuesday, May 28, you can drop off gift cards at the Police Department's front desk.

Four women from the Tampa Bay area are also organizing a trip to Oklahoma to help victims. You can donate through their GoGetFunding page or drop off items at Sub Shak on Cypress Tree Drive in Tampa, near Gunn Highway.


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