Old-time lemonade stand benefits Riley

Bryden Ricker, 7, mans the lemonade stand at his home on Felt Street in Huntington Thursday, July 26. The youngster is donating the proceeds from his sales to benefit Riley Hospital for Children.
Bryden Ricker, 7, mans the lemonade stand at his home on Felt Street in Huntington Thursday, July 26. The youngster is donating the proceeds from his sales to benefit Riley Hospital for Children. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

When Bryden Ricker was at the local YMCA, he was inspired to do what he could to help others less fortunate than himself. So, he asked his mom if he could sell some lemonade.

“He kept begging me to do a lemonade stand, and finally I said yes,” says Jana Ricker, Bryden’s stepmom. “After we got it set up, that’s when he said he wanted to donate to Riley.”

Bryden, 7, set up shop in the front yard of his home on Felt Street and began selling pink lemonade. Sometimes he would whip out his harmonica and perform a song to drum up business for his designated charity, Riley Hospital for Children. He’s opened his stand three times so far this summer, selling lemonade – and a bit of entertainment – to help Riley kids.

“When I was at the Y, we were doing ‘Hawaiian punch,’ selling for Riley Hospital,” Bryden recalls. “Then I realized I really wanted to help all the children and then I just wanted to do this, because I guess that reminded me why I wanted to do a lemonade stand.”

His goal is high, for a guy his age – $40 – that he wants to donate to Riley.

“I wanted to help Riley Hospital and I really want to help all the children, so I need enough to do all that,” he says. “I might get more, but that’s my goal.”

Jana Ricker said she thought Bryden might have been moved by a miscarriage she had when he was 4, which she said affected him greatly. Turns out she was right.

“I was seven months pregnant when we lost her,” she explains. “It’s still a really tough situation. Even to this day he talks about her and how he has a sister. So he’s never been to Riley, but he’s heard about it a lot.”

Bryden says his mom helped him make the lemonade, and business has been pretty good. He’s made about $30 so far. But occasionally he brings out his musical side if sales slow down.

“I put my hat out on the ground … and then I played my harmonica,” Bryden says, after racking up another $3 for an impromptu performance.

The Rickers took Bryden’s earnings to Beacon Credit Union, where they deposited the funds into Beacon’s Riley donation jar.

“A customer heard him say how he made it, and they gave him more money right then,” Jana Ricker says.

Kelly Stuber, marketing coordinator at Beacon, says when they found out what Bryden was doing, they posted his pictures and story on the credit union’s Facebook page in hopes of helping him raise even more. As a surprise, Beacon has pledged to match whatever money Bryden collected from his stand, which was open Thursday, July 26, up to $500.

His mom says Bryden may continue to open the lemonade stand up for a few more dates this summer, doing as much as he can to help out Riley Hospital for Children and its goal of improving children’s healthcare in every area of pediatric medicine. At his young age, Bryden is emphatic that no child should have to be in a hospital.

“The children at Riley Hospital don’t deserve to be sick,” he says. “I started doing this because our baby died … I should donate to Riley Hospital because I don’t want any more babies to die, or children.”