Not even a pandemic can deter Jenna and Rebecca Blum from their annual fundraising efforts to help find a cure for childhood cancer.
For the eighth year, the Chappaqua sisters will be selling their freshly squeezed lemonade at the hamlet’s Saturday morning farmers market to raise money so perhaps one day children and families who must face childhood cancer will see the day when there is a cure.
During the previous seven years, they have raised more than $15,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.
“It’s good to know that even though there’s not a cure we’re making a small difference and that it’s still something,” said Jenna Blum, 13, who is three years younger than Rebecca.
On Friday night, the sisters will be freshly squeezing hundreds of lemons to make about 10 gallons of lemonade. They plan to rise shortly after 6 a.m. on Saturday and mix the lemon juice with water and sugar and head out to their table at the market, that is now being held in the back parking lot at the Chappaqua train station.
Despite the gravity of the cause Jenna and Rebecca are supporting, they make sure to enjoy themselves. At the farmers market, their friends and people they know in town usually stop by to help out and say hello.
“It’s always fun because we put on music (and) we do it as a family, and we’re all smiling together,” Rebecca said.
If the long-range weather forecast holds up, there might be more business than usual with the first summer-like weather of the year coming in this week.
Farmers market patrons and residents who are thirsty can contribute whatever they want for a cup of lemonade. The sisters will again have a jar filled with lemonheads, and for the person who comes closest to correctly guessing the number will win half the pot. Each guess costs $1.
A new wrinkle this year will be Jenna and Rebecca making and selling bracelets with yellow and blue beads, the official colors of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.
Trying to help other families who have been touched by cancer is also personal for Jenna and Rebecca. About four-and-a-half years ago, the lost their grandfather, Papa Neal, to cancer. It is a way for them to honor his legacy by operating the stand in his honor.
For the eighth consecutive year, they have also found a way to raise money by hosting a fundraising event. Last year, during the depths of the pandemic, they held a pizza pop-up party when they were able to arrange for a local pizza truck to spend two hours on their block. The proprietor donated 15 percent of the proceeds to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
Jenna Blum said the operators of the Chappaqua Farmers Market have always been generous by allowing them to set up a stand for their Saturday each year. Once again that is the case this year.
So far, they have raised about $1,100 in advance of Saturday’s sales.
“We’re helping in some way to fund research to hopefully help find a cure, which is a really great thing to know because even though it’s not like there’s been a cure yet, it’s always good to know that you’re helping take steps toward that,” Rebecca Blum said.
The Chappaqua Farmers Market is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information on Alex’s Lemonade Stand and the Blum sisters’ effort, visit www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/2472058