South Carolina Sisters Invest in Operation Christmas Child

August 10, 2017 • United States
Anna (right) and Tracy (second from right), then 11 and 7 respectively, host the Operation LemonAid stand in the Musselwhite driveway together with their friends.
Anna (right) and Tracy (second from right), then 11 and 7 respectively, host the Operation LemonAid stand in the Musselwhite driveway together with their friends.

Operation LemonAid raises money for shoebox gifts one glass at a time.

Lemonade stands are a hallmark of summer, but for sisters Anna and Tracy Musselwhite, 14 and 10, they accomplish far more than collecting spare change.

: Tracy (left) and Anna share about Operation LemonAid on their local television station.

Tracy (left) and Anna share about Operation LemonAid on their local television station.

Founders of Operation LemonAid, the siblings from Daniel Island, South Carolina, raise money for Operation Christmas Child through an annual stand and a personalized fundraising website set up through Samaritan’s Purse.

Over the past four years they have raised roughly $4,000 to send gift-filled shoeboxes and the Gospel message to children in need around the world.

Now they are setting their sights even higher, inviting kids across the nation to join them in Operation LemonAid.

50 Cents, 50 States, $50,000

For 2017, Anna and Tracy have started a campaign called, “50 Cents, 50 States, $50,000.” They are asking kids nationwide to join them in selling lemonade for 50 cents a glass to raise funds for Operation Christmas Child. On the Operation LemonAid team website, facilitated through Samaritan’s Purse, the Musselwhites have posted a planning kit to help others organize and host an Operation LemonAid stand.
You Can Pack a Shoebox

Cathy did note that once the kids are on board, they need some guidance to help make it happen. “You need to have a parent push it forward.”

In 2015, the Operation LemonAid stand moved to Hibben United Methodist Church in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

In 2015, the Operation LemonAid stand moved to Hibben United Methodist Church in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

So far, 2017 Operation LemonAid stands are being set up in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Delaware. The girls continue to spread the word about the opportunity via their social media platforms.

The sisters are encouraging people to plan their Operation LemonAid stands for August 20—National Lemonade Day. [Because of a previous family commitment, the Musselwhites will operate their stand this year on August 27.]

Last year, in July, Anna and Tracy set up tents and tables outside of their church, Hibben United Methodist, in Mount Pleasant, a suburb of Charleston. Friends and church members contributed lemonade and baked goods to stock the stand while other kids helped them staff it. Selling their signature item for 50 cents a cup and cookies and cakes for a donation, Operation LemonAid raised roughly $2,400.

“We spread the Word of Christ to kids who don’t know about Him.”

While most of their customers were aware of the mission and purpose of Operation Christmas Child, Anna and Tracy were armed with flyers and a brief speech to help anyone unfamiliar with the project understand where their donation goes.

“Through Operation Christmas Child we spread the Word of Christ to kids who don’t know about Him,” Tracy said, going on to explain that they pack and send shoeboxes to children around the world “so they’ll feel loved and [know] that Jesus loves them.”

Kids Shining the Light of Christ

“It’s all about God,” Anna said. “He wants us to be kind and do good for others. He created us and had a goal for us in life. He set out for me and Tracy to do this.”

Sisters Anna (left) and Tracy Musselwhite founded Operation LemonAid to raise funds to shoebox gifts around the world through Operation Christmas Child.

Sisters Anna (left) and Tracy Musselwhite founded Operation LemonAid to raise funds to shoebox gifts around the world through Operation Christmas Child.

This brought tears for Cathy.

“I see the light of Christ in them and it makes me proud. I feel blessed to have kids that care.”

Ronnie concurred: “Living in America and especially in Charleston, South Carolina, kids are very fortunate. To have them think of something on their own—not to raise money to buy something for themselves but [to do] good for others—is amazing. I think back to when I was that age and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t thinking like that. It gives you a sense of pride.”

“I see the light of Christ in them and it makes me proud.”

Anna said she’s decided she wants to work for a non-profit when she grows up. But first, she’s focusing on rallying kids to raise $50,000 to help send shoebox gifts around the world.

To potential Operation LemonAid organizers, Anna says, “If you’re thinking of doing it, go for it! It’s a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it.”

Small Beginnings

“It started as something small in a closet,” said Ronnie Musselwhite, the girls’ father.

Anna and Tracy, then 10 and 6, held the “Awesome Club” in one of the family’s walk-in closets. With entrance allowed only by typing a code into an imaginary key pad on the door, they often brought books or coloring pages to fill their meetings. These were never more than 10 minutes long, because it was too hot in the closet.

: (left to right) Tracy, Cathy, Ronnie, and Anna Musselwhite all contribute to Operation LemonAid.

(left to right) Tracy, Cathy, Ronnie, and Anna Musselwhite all contribute to Operation LemonAid.

But during one of those brief meetings, the two Awesome Club members decided that they wanted to host a lemonade stand with a purpose.

“We thought we could start something to let other kids be as fortunate as us that we know about Christ,” Tracy said.

Setting up in their front yard on a June morning with the help of neighborhood friends, they raised $108. The girls used the money to buy toys, hygiene items, and school supplies to pack around 14 shoeboxes.

“We thought we could start something to let other kids be as fortunate as us that we know about Christ.”

As they were finishing up their packing, it dawned on Cathy, their mother, that they hadn’t saved any money to cover the requested donation per box to cover shipping and other ministry expenses.

But stopping by their mailbox before heading to church to drop off their shoebox gifts, Cathy found an unexpected check from their insurance company. The amount was just five dollars more than what they needed to send their shoebox gifts on their way to a child in need. She cashed the check and enclosed the money in the shoeboxes, praising God for His timely provision.

The next year, Anna, Tracy, and friends hosted their Operation LemonAid stand in their front yard again, but they also advertised ahead of time by making an announcement at church. Sales rose to $446. They gave it to the church to help cover the suggested donation per shoebox gift for the boxes their congregation packed.

Encouraged by the growth, they moved the location to their church in 2015 and sales spiked again.

Note: Anna and Tracy are scheduled to speak about Operation LemonAid at the Christian Music Broadcaster’s conference in Orlando, September 6-9, 2017.

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