(May 29, 11:33 a.m.) Sunkist Growers Inc. is providing 20,000 free lemonade stands to children across the U.S. and Canada to help raise money for charity.

The Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based company’s Sunkist Take a Stand campaign promotes youth philanthropy among children ages 7-12 by providing them with free lemonade stands, if they pledge to donate proceeds to the charity of their choice.

“Kids are a huge part of our market and we have a product that’s a delicious snack for kids,” said director of corporate communications Claire Smith. “We have always talked to kids and moms and the lemonade was a natural extension. This was a way for us to help and give back to the community.”

Since the program’s inception in 2003, Sunkist has shipped more than 30,000 lemonade stands, raising an estimated $2.8 million dollars, Smith said.

“We have had ongoing requests all year long and the longer we’ve had the program the more people have heard of it and want to participate,” she said.

To receive a stand, a child must apply to Sunkist with a letter explaining what they will do with the proceeds and why they want to do this, Smith said.

“A lot of (the charities) involve people in (the child’s) family, if they have a family member affected by a disease or illness,” Smith said. “Also, animal shelters are very popular with kids.”

Sunkist is encouraging children to kick off the lemonade season on June 21, the first day of summer.

Sunkist campaign targets charity-minded children
Ryan Little, 7, San Diego, pledged to help people with heart disease, including his grandfather who has a heart problem. He raised funds for the American Heart Association’s Jump 4 Heart program in the summer of 2007 through Sunkist Growers’ lemonade stand campaign.

Courtesy Sunkist Growers Inc.