When Sam Abbott was celebrating his sixth birthday, instead of presents, he asked for donations for a nonprofit that helps feed children in need.
Now, Abbott, 9, runs a lemonade stand in the backyard of his family home in Noblesville each Labor Day Weekend to collect donations for the nonprofit, Fueled for School. He recently presented a check of around $11,000 to the director of Fueled for School, Kristina Trusty, who was his kindergarten teacher at Hinkle Creek Elementary School.
Abbott, who is now in fourth grade, wanted to help Fuel for School when he learned about it in kindergarten. Fueled for School provides meals for students in Noblesville, Trusty said. It started six years ago and focuses on feeding kids who experience food insecurity on weekends and when school is out for breaks.
“I thought it would be kind of cool,” Abbott said about donating. “Because kids in my classroom, they don’t have food and I didn’t really know that.”
Abbott raised $200 when he was in kindergarten and decided to annually set up a lemonade stand in the backyard of his family home on Labor Day weekend to benefit the nonprofit. His first lemonade stand was during the fall 2020, which he set up near a golf course next to his house as a tournament was being played. The lemonade is free but donations for Fueled for School are welcomed.
“I think we were all touched that Sam wanted to do more for his peers,” Trusty said. “I think that’s kind of what it boils down (to) for us. When we see children serving their peer group, it really touches your heart, the level of compassion that children have for others.”
Abbot’s first lemonade stand raised $1,100 for Fueled for School. He presented the money to Trusty in a cardboard box with the donation amount written with a Sharpie.
“(It was) absolutely precious,” Trusty said. “He asked us that year to buy macaroni and cheese for the children in the program.”
The lemonade stand, which recently celebrated its fourth year, has expanded through the years. The recent stand included waterslides and food.
People who dropped by included Hinkle Creek Principal Jack Lawrence and Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen. Approximately 300 people attended, and Abbott raised about $11,000 for Fueled for School.
“It makes me feel good that other people want to be a part of it,” Abbott said.
When Abbott presented the check to Trusty, he was accompanied by his fourth-grade classmates and Jensen.
“I was a little taken off guard because I wasn’t expecting a group to walk into my classroom,” Trusty said. “And so, when the people started coming in, obviously I thought something is up, and when I saw Sam, I had a pretty good idea that he was coming in with good news.”
In the days leading up to the check donation, Trusty said Abbott jokingly misled her about missing his monetary goal of $10,000 with the lemonade stand. She said used the moment as a teaching lesson about sometimes not reaching our goals. She said Abbott doesn’t have a fear of failure and sets high goals each year.”
“He surprised me. I was blown away,” she said.
What is Fueled for School?
The nonprofit Fueled for School started six years ago with a mission to provide food to students in need on weekends or during school breaks. It is made up of a five-person board and weekly volunteers.
The nonprofit makes meal packs for 350-400 local children each week. Fuel for School director Kristina Trusty said the organization’s biggest need is for drivers to deliver the meal kits to schools.
Twenty-seven percent of students in the Noblesville Schools district are on free or reduced lunches and are at risk for food insecurity, Trusty said. She said the $11,000 that fourth-grader Sam Abbott raised for Fueled for School can provide a year’s worth of meals for 55 students.