LOCKPORT – Four Bartz Road girls converted their plans for a roadside drink stand into a fundraiser for Niagara Hospice after the July 20 death of the grandmother of two of the girls.
Shelbie Morehouse, 14, and her sister Abbie, 9, easily persuaded their young neighbors, Madison and Morgan Class, to turn the stand into a memorial effort for Jane M. Poust.
They managed to raise $715 by selling the 50-cent fruit-flavored drinks and accepting larger donations from adults who took a shine to the notion of helping hospice in memory of the Morehouse girls’ grandmother.
“The hospice people were floored, absolutely amazed,” said Jennifer Morehouse, mother of Shelbie and Abbie and daughter of Poust.
Poust, 75, died after a week in Niagara Hospice. Following the funeral July 22, the Morehouse girls sprang into action by asking the Class girls to earmark all their proceeds for hospice.
“We knew that they’re always taking donations. The two girls wanted to do a slushy stand, and I told them they should do it for Niagara Hospice,” Shelbie said. Madison, 10, and Morgan, 13, whose family owns Kraft Trucking, were hoping to have some fun with their roadside stand.
“Usually there’s not a lot of traffic on the street,” Jennifer Morehouse said. “We usually frown upon it, plus the driveway’s long. We usually don’t want them out there without supervision. … The rule was, you do not walk up to the cars. People have to get out of the cars.”
But the fundraising aspect, which continued for five days, outweighed most of those concerns.
“Some people just donated for the cause. Some people just gave us tens and twenties because it was a good cause,” Shelbie said.
They sold at least two gallons of fruit-flavored treats, about six ounces at a time, said Jennifer Morehouse, who works as an administrative assistant for an automotive facility.
Shelbie said they offered fruit punch, raspberry ice, iced tea, green apple, grape and lemon flavors, among others.
Jim Muffoletto of Peerless Landscaping, who was working on the Morehouse property at the time, took note of the effort.
“When he heard what the girls were doing – they were up to $225 – he actually called Morgan and Madison’s mom, because he’s friends with them, and he matched their $225,” Jennifer Morehouse said. “That brought us to $450, and family and friends of both of our homes were hearing about it, and they just kept giving us money. My aunt gave $100.” The Classes “have relatives who gave $60 and $70, so it just snowballed out of the slushies,” she added.
Donations given at the wake were added to the total.
The girls kept the stand open as long as five hours a day. “I was shocked at the way they did it. I couldn’t believe these kids could raise that much money,” said Mary Cornelius, the Morehouse girls’ other grandma, who happens to be the sister-in-law of John Lomeo, CEO of Niagara Hospice.
“They took wonderful care of my mother. I couldn’t see them taking any better care of her,” Jennifer Morehouse said.
There are now plans for the girls, who all attend Starpoint schools, to do an anniversary sale for hospice every year, marking the week Poust spent there. Poust seems to have made a mark on her granddaughters. “She was a very great lady,” Shelbie said. “She would always care about everybody before herself.”