Lemonade Stand Becomes Sweet Fundraising Effort

  • November 23, 2021
Child's handwriting and drawing on white paper, explaining donation to Museum in grandfather's name.
"Official" letter from Mark Hemschoot's grandchildren, mailed to the Museum with their donation. Photo courtesy of the Hemschoot family.
Small children selling lemonade at white folding table covered in colorful straws, cups, and pitchers

The enterprising philanthropists in action. Photo courtesy of Hemschoot family. 

Mark Hemschoot, a senior vice president at the Aon Corporation, lived in Red Bank, NJ, where he coached his sons' basketball teams and volunteered as a firefighter. He was 47 when he died on 9/11, at work on the South Tower's 105th floor. 

Twenty years later, his memory lives on through his young grandchildren - and the lemonade they serve their numerous patrons. 

Every summer, says Mark's daughter-in-law Gretchen, Matthew (age 8), Andrew (age 6), and Charlie (age 3), set up a lemonade stand on their street. This year though, construction made it impossible. Undeterred, they asked Gretchen if they could relocate the stand to the family's beach club in Sea Bright. Knowing there would be a lot more foot traffic in the new spot, Gretchen agreed on the condition that they donate their profits to the charity of their choosing. 

After recruiting 11-month-old sister Katherine to join the family business, they were quickly flooded with Jersey Shore customers, ultimately bringing in $861. This fall, they donated the full sum to the National September 11 Memorial Museum, honoring their "Granpa Mark."

"It's something we've just always talked about," Gretchen says. "They understand he was in the building and that something terrible happened." 

We were notified of the donation by handwritten letter and original drawing, pictured above. 

"It was really nice. We're at a beach club, you can see the skyline, and everyone has a 9/11 connection," Gretchen tells us. "Even people who didn't want lemonade came up and told their stories and made a donation. People just wanted to come out and say 'thank you.'" 

The lemonade stand funds will be used to sponsor a cobblestone in Mark's name. 

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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