Thirteen-year-old AnnaMaria Carrozzo has set up lemonade stands in Brigantine for the past seven summers raising money for the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.
"At first, I was just selling because I thought a lemonade stand would be fun," said AnnaMaria, a summer resident of Brigantine who spends the rest of the year in Haddonfield, Camden County, "but when I heard about Alex and her story, it took on new a meaning for me."
At age 4, cancer patient Alex Scott held a lemonade stand in front of her house to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Alex died in 2004. Her idea led to a movement that has grown to involve children all over the world holding lemonade to raise money for the cause - including AnnaMaria.
AnnaMaria is associated with the foundation's Kids for Alex's South Jersey chapter, formerly named "Brigantine's Own" Alex's Lemonade Stand, which was created eight years ago by Brigantine residents and twin brothers Michael and Joseph Mandes, now 18.
The Mandeses began setting up lemonade stands for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation when they were 10, with the assistance of their mother, Julie. They later formed the foundation's Brigantine chapter, which they recently renamed Kids for Alex's South Jersey to be more inclusive of all of South Jersey. On June 1, the brothers organized the first Brigantine Spring into Action "CYCLE" for Alex's, an island-wide cycle ALSF fundraiser that included a bike route from lemonade stand to lemonade stand. It included a stop at AnnaMaria's at 30th Street and Ocean Avenue, and ended with a community picnic at the Elks Lodge.
The event was sponsored by Kids for Alex's, South Jersey and Elks Antlers Lodge No. 23. The event title, CYCLE, stands for Caring Youth Creating Loving Environments.
Michael Mandes said he and his brother are looking for ways to inspire younger children, like AnnaMaria, to follow in their footsteps and hold lemonade stands for the cause, which was the goal of CYCLE event. But no matter how old they get, Michael said, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation will always be an organization he and his brother support.
"It's was my first volunteer opportunity as a kid, and I'm always going to be involved with this cause," he said.
AnnaMaria said she's happy to step up to the plate and get involved.
"I think it's a great idea and a great cause," she said, "and it's a lot of fun."
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