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A lemonade stand for a cause

Saugus boy donates proceeds to children's charity program

Posted: August 1, 2009 9:54 p.m.
Updated: August 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Zach Trujillo, 9, center, sells lemonade to Krista Damann, 11, who passed by on her bike Saturday afternoon. From left, Tommy Gerges, 9, Micah Dinnwiddie, 11, and Nick Trujillo, 4, helped sell lemonade to benefit The Painted Turtle, a camp for seriously ill children in Lake Hughes.

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For 9-year-old Zach Trujillo, selling lemonade all summer will not end with a trip to the toy store, new clothing or a new bike.

The young Saugus resident is doing it for charity.

"I already have what I want, and I couldn't think of anything I wanted," he said. "Why do I have to give it to myself? I don't want to give it all to myself; that'd be kind of rude."

So instead, he's giving all the proceeds to The Painted Turtle, a camp for seriously ill children in Lake Hughes.

The Painted Turtle provides educational and therapeutic summer camps and year-round programs for children whose daily struggles drain their desire to be well and ability to lead a productive life, according to the camp's Web site.

Trujillo was inspired by a news article he read about a girl in Pennsylvania who raised thousands for a charity.

Trujillo, his brother Nick, 4, and neighborhood friends stand outside the Trujillos' Saugus home from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays holding up bright signs to entice thirsty drivers on Redwood Canyon Place.

Zach's mom mixes the lemonade and bakes cookies, and Zach, brother Nick, Tommy Gerges, 9, and Micah Dinwiddie, 11, were the salespeople.

Dad Dan Trujillo yells "car" when he spots an oncoming vehicle, and the kids run to the sidewalk to hold their signs high.

This summer is Zach's second donating his lemonade-stand earnings to the camp. Fliers on mailboxes also helped get the word out.

Zach's mother, Marleen Trujillo, has volunteered at The Painted Turtle for several years.

When Zack decided he didn't want to keep the money for himself, Marleen Trujillo suggested he donate proceeds to the camp.

This year Zach hopes to raise $150, topping last year's $100 raised. But last year's tally was enough to get him noticed by Painted Turtle staff on his last visit.

"A girl found out and asked me, ‘Are you Zach that helped last summer with the lemonade?'" Zach said. "They said, ‘Thank you, that really meant a lot to the kids and us.'"

Trujillo said visiting the camp allowed him to realize the importance of his efforts.

"Once you go out there and be part of the whole group, I think I did the best thing of my whole life: raising money for kids," he said. "It's fun to do it and you know your heart's telling you to do it."

Zach's mother said the experience will have a long-term impact on his mindset.

"I think it'll help shape what kind of adult he becomes - more of a compassionate leader and grateful for what he has," she said. "I really don't think I learned how good I had it until later in life."

As of Saturday afternoon, Zach had raised $25 toward his $150 goal after two Saturdays of selling.

If he doesn't raise his goal amount by the school season, Zach said he will keep trying.

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