What do you get when you take a six year old boy, some lemons, and whole lot of love and ambition? A parent’s dream, for starters. But how can all of those things turn a tragedy into community joy? Through a community effort inspired by said six year old.
This is the story of Malachi’s Magnificent Lemonade and how it’s young proprietor of quenching thirst turned a dream into a movement in which the sum is exponentially greater than its parts. It all started about three years ago when young Malachi wanted to raise money for a trip to Sea World. He asked his Dad if he would build him a lemonade stand. But then he asked if he could give his lemonade for free to any police officer, fireman, or anyone in the military. His parents told Malachi that would be fine.
Two years after he completed his dream trip to Sea World, Malachi’s parents, Jason and Trisha, were discussing a terrible tragedy. Lt. Aaron Allan, a police officer in Southport, Indiana, was shot and killed in the line of duty. Malachi overheard this and asked his parents if he could open the lemonade stand to help the fallen officer’s family. His parents agreed. And a revolutionary purpose for selling lemonade was born. When it was all said and done, Malachi’s Magnificent Lemonade had raised nearly $2,000. Officers referred to Malachi as a “brother in law enforcement” after his heroic effort to assist the fallen officer’s family.
Then, on March 2nd of this year, a Boone County Sheriff Deputy was gunned down while in pursuit of a suspect in the town of Lebanon. Deputy Jacob Pickett was laid to rest on March 4th. Once again, Malachi and his parents opened up the lemonade stand for the fallen deputy. Malachi, with the support of the community of Kokomo, Indiana, where Malachi and his family reside, were able to raise roughly $7,000. The family of the fallen officer was so grateful for the effort put forth by Malachi.
“Malachi was blown away that police could get hurt or killed doing their job,” Trisha told me, “He immediately said “we need to open the stand and raise money.” So that weekend we did,” referring to the passing of Lt. Allan. “Then this year, when he heard about Deputy Pickett, he asked to set up the stand again.”
The town of Kokomo has responded in a big way to help Malachi. The Libraries in Howard County have pitched in by making their sites available to sell Malachi’s Magnificent Lemonade. Last Friday, Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union made their location available to MML Countless citizens lined up for Malachi’s lemonades, hot cocoa (since the weather is still on the chilly side), and baked goods, which were donated to the cause.
So where does this desire to help in such a generous way come from? Needless to say, Jason and Trisha have modeled this behavior. But in young Malachi’s case you see something more than just great parents. Part of it is just the innocence of a six year old boy that has a heart for giving back. “He said ‘I didn’t know policeman could die, doing what they’re doing,” Jason Fronczak shared. “He’s a great kid with a big heart that likes to serve people by nature…”
Trisha shared her vision for her children:
“As parents, God gives us a unique job of fostering his values in our children’s hearts. Just like ourselves, every child has a sinful side, and a side that knows what’s right and desires to love and serve others.
“We as parents need to actively watch for those moments when God moves our kids hearts and be sure to capitalize on that time so we can watch their values grow and ultimately open up to a relationship with their Savior.”
Jason shares the “why” behind Malachi’s passion to honor those in uniform.
“…we’d take him to the fire department and take cookies, and we’d take him when we see police officers.” Jason goes on, “Officer Noah Moody here in town is a worship leader at church, so that’s a hero he looks up to. I think he’s just been surrounded by it enough…I think it caught his heart; and a lot of men he admires are police officers.”
Malachi plans to open his lemonade stand one more time this weekend for Officer Pickett. After which, Trisha says they will drive down to present the money to Officer Pickett’s family. By the way, the family will be receiving 100% of the proceeds raised through Malachi’s Magnificent Lemonade.
Malachi has touched so many hearts and inspired so many people, including myself, to give of themselves. Our country has always been a charitable one. But the era of community spirit seems to have been lost over the years. Granted, we all give money at one time or another to causes we bump into in our world. And big corporations (despite the criticism of some that they are greedy capitalists) provide large donations to an individual or a cause they can get behind.
But what is missing in our world is an everyday community spirit to be doers, to start a cause, to help a neighbor just because, to give of the talents that God has given us. Malachi is the shining star on a hill that demonstrates to all of us what giving back is about. You don’t need anything more than a caring heart, along with the drive to speak your mind and use your own muscle to make it happen. By doing so, it not only connects the dots to get the money and support to those in need expeditiously, but it accomplishes something even more important than that: inspiration.
The human spirit is that intangible that is missing in our communities. That boundless enthusiasm brings hope to others- through words, through deeds, and even simply human contact, which there is a shortage of these days. Malachi has provided all of this. How many adults have thought to themselves, “If a six year old kid can do this, what could I do?” Well, what could you do? I will leave that for you to answer.
But as for Malachi, he knows what to do once he seeks his parents permission. And with his families support, he is able to accomplish much more than providing a grieving family a much needed envelope of money. He has provided hope.
And with this hope, Malachi will continue to inspire into adulthood. Maybe he will have a chain of lemonade stands. But if you ask Malachi or his family what he wants to be when he grows up, just one thing comes from his mouth: a police officer.
(Chris Gaines is an author and Editor-in-Chief for Patriot Gaines. He resides in the Cedar Valley of Northern Iowa with his wife, Jennifer, an two kids, Patrick & Megan.)
Many thanks to Trisha Fronczak for her contributions to this story.
Photo Sources: Malachi’s Magnificent Lemonade Facebook Page.