Lemon ‘aid’

Child’s curbside business eases ‘heat’ on shelter pets

Avaanti Bhatia, left, collects her payment after serving Jan Broyles with lemonade.
It was all for “the puppies.”

Avaanti Bhatia, 5, was so enamored with Genie, the rescue dog belonging to her uncle, Ninad Pradhan, and aunt, Kaveri Thakur, that the couple, along with Avaanti’s mother, Shamila Thakur, helped her host a fundraising lemonade stand Saturday, June 23 in Kingsgate subdivision.

“She loves pups, and we thought it would be a great experience for her to raise money to donate to the Humane Society — from where we adopted our dog three years ago,” Pradhan stated on the Nextdoor.com community website.

“We also (wanted) her to learn about the wonderful American tradition of raising money for charity,” she added.

Avaanti, her mother and her grandmother, Sandhya Thakur, are from India, visiting Prahan and Thakur as they do most summers.

Sharmila Thakur said in Mumbai, it is not feasible to have dogs due to space constraints, so Avaanti has especially enjoyed playing with Genie.

“And she wanted to do it for the stray doggies,” Avaanti’s aunt, Kaveri Thakur, said. “Every time she sees a dog, she wants to know its name or if she can pet it.”

“She loves dogs, and puppies,” Pradhan echoed. “We also wanted to show her that when you have an interest like that, you can make a difference and make an impact. And, she really liked that idea of being able to help.”

“At first she thought we would be raising the money to get another dog,” Kaveri Thakur said. “But when we told her if we gave the money to the Humane Society, they would get food or help in some way, she liked that idea.”

The family worked most of the week leading up to the event, making cookies and specialty sandwiches also to be sold.

Pradhan had advertised the fundraiser through the neighborhood Facebook page, and also on Nextdoor.com, which generated a lot of written responses and acknowledgements.

They were ready to go early in the day on June 23, setting up at Prahan and Thakur’s home along Banbury Lane in Kingsgate, in a visible location at its intersection with Midhurst Drive.

“Avaanti was so excited that she made sure to go to bed on time the night before,” her mother said.

Dressed in a crown her mother said “she wears all the time,” Avaanti was well prepared for customers just before 9 a.m.

Pradhan said the response “was much more than we expected. We had four to five times more than I thought we would. I think her waving (at passersby) helped.”

The effort raised $170 during the two-hour fundraiser. Avaanti presented the donation to Humane Society later that day.

“(It) was beyond our most optimistic expectations, and we cannot thank you enough,” Pradhan stated on Facebook and Nextdoor.com. “We are truly lucky to be part of this community. Avaanti had a wonderful time, and she especially enjoyed seeing the pups at the Humane Society, and giving her collection to their care.”