LORAIN — Jacob and Kaylinn Legg are no strangers to the lemonade stand business. But Monday and today’s venture is the first time they’re working for more than just pocket money.
Struck by the story of Saturday’s house fire on Second Street in Elyria, Jacob, 12 and his sister, Kaylinn, 9, wanted to do whatever they could to help the Davila family. So they gathered a folding table, some chairs, a pitcher of lemonade and ice and set up in their front yard.
The Davila family’s house was destroyed in a fire that started shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday. William Davila was outside mowing the yard, while his daughter, Alyndria Davila, and grandchildren Jayla Mitchell, 11; Amaria West, 6; and Omeire West, 4, were in the house when the fire started. Alyndria Davila, Jayla and Amaria made it out unharmed, while Omeire did not. His body was found in his bedroom, with fire officials suspecting the child died of smoke inhalation.
“I just learned about the fire and we have a newspaper (article on the fire) on our sign, and I just learned about the house fire (this morning),” Jacob said. “Our mom told us, ‘Why don’t you guys go do a lemonade stand and go put all your money inside of a donation can’ ...”
Kaylinn added, “Because I was going to give the family $2 each, but then she said instead of doing that, do a lemonade stand for them and then give them the rest of the money.”
While the two hadn’t sold many cups Monday, they had collected around $7 thanks to donations. They said they had a man biking through the area donate $5 in change for his 50-cent cup of lemonade, and another couple gave them $1 for only one drink.
Jacob admitted contributing some money after spotting candy his sister was selling beside the drinks.
“I bought some candy because I didn’t even know she was selling it,” he said. “I just come outside and then she’s selling it, and I was like ‘Oh! Candy! Don’t mind if I do.’”
The kids don’t have a specific goal for the stand, but their mother, Amy Legg, plans to take whatever they made to Sacred Heart Chapel in Lorain. Amy Legg shared the story with her children because of how devastating it was, she said, and Kaylinn’s reaction is what prompted her suggestion of the lemonade stand.
“Usually it’s for themselves to build up money or whatever, and she (Kaylinn) was so torn up about the kid in the fire and all that, they just wanted to do a little something and that’s one way to do it,” Amy Legg said.
Kaylinn raided her own closet and bundled together packages for each Jayla and Amaria.
“I have packages inside for the little girls,” Kaylinn said. “They’re basically the same thing is in each of them ... I don’t know if they have much stuff, but I put a pair of clothes in there, some other stuff, a book to read, a word search and a dress.”
“She’s just trying to do whatever she could to help,” Amy Legg said.
Amy Legg and her children reflected on the pain the Davila family is facing.
“Being a mom and a grandmother myself … I just can’t imagine where they’re at right now and I know that they’re hurting bad in a lot of ways,” she said.
For Jacob, he thought Omeire was alive at first only to hear the tragic news later on. He said he can’t imagine what the child must have gone through in the fire, and thought of the pain it would cause his family to lose his 3-year-old nephew.
“Fire or murder or something, gun shots being fired around the neighborhood, we try to protect the kids that aren’t my parents’ most of all,” he said. “We still go into safety and everything, but if the kids aren’t ours and we love the kids still, we still try to protect them.”
The lemonade stand is open today from 12:30 to 7 p.m. at 717 W. 22nd St. Alongside the kid’s lemonade stand, several GoFundMe pages have been set up for the family and Sacred Heart Chapel, 4301 Pearl Ave., is collecting gift cards and monetary donations for them as well.
Jacob said the fire was so devastating, he and his sister had to act.
“We’ve never actually had a problem that serious that actually we want to take action and everything,” Jacob said. “Because most of the time we find out that a lot of their stuff is still OK and they’re doing fine on the money and everything, but this with having no money, no anything left …”