George, Oakley, and Lucy Masse with their fundraising booth on Canada Day. CHARLOTTE BUTKO

Lemonade and snack stand raked in the cash

With six kids pitching in, you should be able to run a profitable lemonade stand, right?

But the Masse family exceeded their wildest expectations, reaping $2150 in profit from the snack and refreshment table they ran at the top of their driveway on Pancake Lane on Canada Day. All money raised went to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS).

“It all started out with a big family discussion about the news that hundreds of Native children’s graves were found at the western residential schools,” said mom Karla Masse. “My kids were really curious about that. It is just such a sad topic. And I thought, we can’t keep being sad. We looked for positive ways to direct their thoughts.”

Thus far, the remains of 215 children have been found, using ground-penetrating radar, on former residential school property, in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has reported that some 4000 indigenous children in residential schools died from disease, neglect, and abuse.

Although the Masse family is not active in the Indigenous community, Karla said that her husband, David, has Metis blood on his side of the family.

“One of the kids said, ‘Let’s have a lemonade stand on Canada Day, and donate the money we raise.’ So we bought treats, and my sister-in-law made baked goods.”

Lemonade and soft drinks, homemade bear paws, chips, and other snacks were on offer between 9 AM and 5 PM on July 1. Cars lined the street.

“People were just so happy to come and support the kids—they didn’t even care about the snacks and the drinks, and they just want to donate money,” said Karla. “The kids were just blown away. We had people arriving all day long.”

Karla promoted the fundraising effort online via her personal Facebook page, and also used her business’s Facebook account to spread the word.

Kora, 21, is the eldest daughter, and served as her mom’s designated childcare assistant during the fundraiser, keeping track of her siblings. The rest of the brood are Lucy 11, Oakley 9, George 7, Oscar 6, and Navy 3. The middle children all attend St. Alexander School in Fonthill.

According to its website, IRSSS, which is located in British Columbia, provides essential services to residential school survivors, their families, and to those dealing with intergenerational traumas. They provide a 24-hour crisis line, counselling, information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and deliver wellness and healing services to those in need.

Donations to the Indian Residential School Survivors Fund can be made online at https://www.irsss.ca/donate.