By TIM KELLY
An optimistic old proverb maintains that when life hands someone lemons, then someone should make lemonade.
Three local girls have taken the saying to heart. They are taking lemonade and turning it into gold for the Humane Society of Ocean City.
The girls, Michaela Werber, Kate Michel and Sage Geubtner, all 12-year-old Northfield residents and students at Northfield Community School, have been setting up lemonade stands over the last two years and donating the proceeds to the Humane Society.
The results, which are still ongoing, recently eclipsed the $1,000 mark. In the process, they are also raising awareness for the Humane Society and its good work.
The HSOC, located at 1 Shelter Road, adjacent to the Tennessee Avenue soccer complex, bills itself as a one-stop center for a variety of pet and animal services, including a veterinarian center with lower fees than most private vet clinics, dog and cat adoptions, animal control services and much more.
“We really started out doing this for fun,” said Michaela, whose family’s dog Roxy was adopted at the Human Society’s shelter. “When we saw how happy everyone was when we made our first donation, we knew that we found something we wanted to keep on doing to help the animals.”
The first donation was made approximately two years ago, in the amount of $200. The girls set up their stand along Shore Road during Northfield’s July 4 parade, and the results were immediate.
“I think they do so well because they are just adorable little girls,” laughed Megan Werber, Michaela’s mom.
However, she noted that when their customers hear about the girls’ quest to see more animals rescued and to find forever homes, they are truly touched.
“There’s no price tag on the cups of lemonade,” said Megan. “The girls tell people to make whatever donation they can. I think that has made it work out better for them.”
Since then, Michaela, Kate and Sage have periodically been setting up their stands along the bike path in Northfield.
“Police and fire personnel always seem to donate, and even (Northfield) Mayor (Erland) Chau. The people who happen to be walking along the bike path see the girls and what they’re doing and are moved to help them,” Megan explained.
In turn, the girls have helped the shelter, much to the delight and gratitude of the HSOC.
“These girls and some other groups of young kids have raised money and awareness of the HSOC,” said Phil Bellucci, the Humane Society’s operations and development director. “We’re so very impressed and encouraged by these amazing kids.”
Michaela, Kate and Sage did not stop with lemonade.
As part of a school project, the girls turned their stands into a “company” and expanded their offerings to include the sale of home-baked all natural dog treats.
“I went online and found some recipes,” Michaela said.
“She had a willing test subject in Roxy to find out the best one,” her mom added.
The girls then began selling the treats alongside the lemonade, and they were well-received.
They named the venture “Puppy Party Company,” Michaela said, because “that’s what we are.”
The party is a long way from being over. In addition to raising money for the shelter, the girls are frequent visitors to the facility.
Naturally, Megan, also mom to Mainland Regional High School student Benjamin and wife of David Werber, is proud of her daughter and her friends.
“These girls are not driven by a desire to gain anything from this other than to make a difference,” she said. “You always hear (criticisms) of today’s kids, but here are three little girls who want to do something to help save the lives of the animals, and they’re doing just that.”