Olympic Hills 9/11 lemonade stand still makes a difference 20 years later


When life gave lemons to the country, the Olympic Hills neighborhood made lemonade.

Twenty years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, this continues in the Eden Prairie neighborhood during the Olympic Hills annual 9/11 lemonade stand.

This year’s lemonade stand marks the 20th anniversary of September 11th from 2pm to 6pm Saturday, September 11th, 9497 Painters Ridge, Eden Prairie.

“It’s actually our 21st anniversary because we had one a week after 9/11,” said Sue Donkersgoed, who has been a constant over the years. “My son (Van) was in the second grade and is now 28. It’s hard to imagine.”

Big things have small beginnings

Days after 9/11, Donkersgoed and some of their Olympic Hills neighbors set up a card table at the end of their driveway.

There they sold lemonade and homemade cookies, and made $ 1,100. In this way, the participating children were able to earn money for a fundraising campaign by the school for the benefit of those affected by the tragedy.

Children at the Olympic Hills’ first 9/11 lemonade stand. That happened days after September 11, 2001. Photo courtesy Sue Donkersgoed

Since then, the lemonade stand has been open every September 11th. To date, more than $ 66,000 has been raised for various charities that benefit military veterans.

This year’s proceeds will go to North Star Marine Veterans, who support disabled veterans with donations and volunteer work. The nonprofit donated these dollars to the Minnesota Veterans Home in Hastings and the Como Park High School Marine Corps’ JROTC program.

Donkersgoed and a constantly changing line-up of lemonade cutlery remain true to the stand’s original promise never to be forgotten.

“I remember the day it happened,” said Donkersgoed. “I’m at home and the kids are at school. Are you bringing your children Is something terrible going to happen here? Nobody knew anything. It was a scary time. “

Four generations of helpers

Donkersgoed said that this year the fourth generation of neighborhood children will be working on the stand.

The original five are adults. “Now we have second graders from the neighborhood with us,” she said. “There is a video (on September 11th) that I like to watch from the parents. And they explain to the children (what happened).

A portion of this year’s proceeds will go to plant a tree and dedicate a memorial bench at the Eden Prairie Veterans Memorial in Purgatory Creek Park.

Some of the kids who will be working at the Olympic Hills 9/11 lemonade stand this year. Photo courtesy Sue Donkersgoed

“We’re going to have the name of the Olympic Hills 911 lemonade stand on the bench so the kids (who helped) have a place to go,” she said. “To mark the 10th anniversary, we bought some trees and bricks at the memorial in New York City. Many people haven’t been there yet, and it’s not easy to find them. “

The cookies will be plentiful

In preparation for September 11th, Donkersgoed baked a lot of cookies.

This year’s batch is the most ever made for the event. On September 9th alone, there were 195 dozen of them.

A woman ordered 40 dozen cookies, Donkersgoed said. She wants to distribute them to the police and fire brigade.

“People at the 10th anniversary drove 50 miles just to get a cookie,” she said. “We think people will do the same on the 20th. We hope to make a big difference this year. “

Donkersgoed said this was her last year organizing the event.

After 21 years, she’s hoping someone else will step up.

“I have a great group of friends and neighbors who are helping,” she said. “It’s a real community event. I hope someone records it. I told them they could have it just around the corner because everyone knows where it is. It’s hard to say goodbye, that’s for sure. “

For more information, visit the lemonade stand website or Facebook Page.

Lemonade stand

What: The Olympic Hills 9/11 lemonade stand

When: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, September 11th

Where: 9497 painter’s comb

Tax-deductible donations can be made at the lemonade stand or the North Star Marine Veterans’ website.

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