Stealing anything from anyone is a crime. Robbing a child, however, is absolutely unthinkable.
Alizay Kashif, an 11-year-old girl from Naperville, Illinois, was heartbroken when she lost her hard-earned money a few weeks ago. Shortly after earning nine dollars at her lemonade stand, a group of teenagers approached.
Kashif watched in shock as the teens snatched the money before jumping into a getaway car.
A total of nine dollars may not seem substantial, but to an 11-year-old girl, it’s a hefty wad of cash. The teenagers didn’t just steal from her, however — they robbed Feeding America, a nationwide food bank organization Kashif had planned to support with her earnings.
Upset on his daughter’s behalf, Kashif’s father reported the incident on Nextdoor, an app used to connect neighbors.
Touched by Kashif’s story, the Naperville community jumped into action to help remedy the situation.
One neighbor, Ben Hutchison, was inspired to help the little girl earn her money back. He invited her to set up her stand outside his home, where more traffic was likely to stop.
“They had a quiet area, not very visible,” Hutchison told CNN. “So I offered them my busy street corner.”
A local police officer parked his car near the stand to scare away any potential robbers.
“I think I might have a few friends coming,” the cop said to Kashif and her sister, Emaan Kashif, right before a line of police cars arrived at the stand.
Last week, Alizay & Emaan set up a lemonade stand to raise money for @FeedingAmerica. Teens stole the jar w/$9 they made in 2.5 hours. I saw the post & told their dad they could set up on our corner. @NapervillePD showed up & donated $170! In total, they raised over $300 👍🚔🍋 pic.twitter.com/ju7CKL0qKE
— Ben Hutchison (@Ben__Hutchison) July 15, 2019
The Naperville police donated a whopping $170 to Kashif’s Feeding America fundraiser. More and more neighbors visited the stand for a cup of lemonade, chipping in to help the sisters earn far more than the stolen nine dollars. The fundraiser also gained traction on Facebook, where community members pitched in and spread the word.
“Alizay’s lemonade stand was a big success,” the girls’ father posted on Facebook. “She raised $348 for Feeding America after recovering her costs.”
Hutchison, a former TV journalist, said he was happy for the chance to give back to his community. After reporting a number of disheartening stories, he wanted to step in and uplift his neighborhood.
“The parents wanted to teach their kids a lesson about perseverance,” Hutchison said. “This reinforced the same sense of the community that I felt when I was growing up here.”
Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, has reached out to Hutchison for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.
The little girl’s story is a reminder to never give up, even when someone tries to knock you down. Some people seek to hurt others, but far more people exist who want to help you succeed!
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