Bailee Militello, 6, of Gloucester often holds lemonade stands (and sometimes cookie stands) outside her East Main Street home.
On Wednesday, however, her lemonade had a real purpose.
Her mom, Brieana Militello, a certified nurse’s aide at Seacoast Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Gloucester, helped her daughter come up with a plan to raise money to help the Cardone family of 2 Ashland Place, who lost their home on Monday in a fire.
Brieana said she heard all the hubbub from the fire scene nearby while she was at work and was moved to help the family.
She said she “has always been a giver. You’re supposed to love your neighbor as yourself,” she said. She said she’s often been moved to help people, including the family of Caleigh Harrison, the Gloucester toddler who has been missing since disappearing April 19 from Log Beach in Rockport.
She saw how people came to the aid of her family when her own mother passed away, and was grateful for that. “I’m just drawn to it ... and when I get the feeling, I just go.”
Her daughter Bailee, she said, is a sensitive, emotional and caring child, and she gets touched easily by such situations. They drove by the destroyed home to take a look, and Bailee said it “looked bad.” She also felt sad that the Cardone family had lost a pet, and was concerned about the kids affected by the fire.
On Wednesday afternoon, the lemonade stand, touted on the “Good Morning Gloucester” blog, on Facebook, and in the online comments at gloucestertimes.com, was open and busily running from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
By 3:45 p.m., $135 in cash donations had already been raised, and a steady stream of people were coming by the home to either offer donations (the cost of a cup of lemonade is $1) and drive off, or stop and drink some lemonade and chat.
Jimmy Militello, 2, Bailee’s little brother, was industriously preparing cups of lemonade for people. Neighbor and friend Jason Gleason, 9, also was lending a hand.
Brieana Militello said she prepared three five-gallon jugs of lemonade with spring water, fresh lemons and sugar for the stand on Tuesday evening.
Laura Cardone and her daughter Sabrina Cardone, 17, stopped by the house midway through the sale to personally thank the family for their thoughtful gesture, and chatted with and hugged everyone. Brieana also ran inside the house to get some outfits she wanted to donate to Sabrina, too.
The lemonade stand will be up and running again today from 2:30 to 4:30 at 29 East Main St., and they are not only taking donations of money, but also clothing and shoes for the Cardone family.
Allegra Boverman can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3448, or at email@example.com.