The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

July 25, 2012

Girl stops in Joplin to donate proceeds from lemonade stand

JOPLIN, Mo. — Her mother is the chief financial officer. Her twin brothers handle quality control. And Sarah is the saleswoman, handing out cups of lemonade in exchange for donations for worthy causes from her front yard on Long Island, N.Y.

The 13-year-old’s enterprise has netted more than $10,000 for charities during the past seven years, with the most recently earned funds coming to Joplin.

The Connor family stopped Wednesday at the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department offices on its way across the United States to present an $800 check to be used to replace trees damaged or destroyed in the May 2011 tornado.

“I earned it selling lemonade during three different parades that came right past our house,” Sarah said.

She was the one who did the honors of writing out the check to hand to Chris Cotten, parks director, who called her “quite the entrepreneur.” He presented her with tokens of the city’s appreciation: a pin representing the state of Missouri and a pin representing Joplin’s status as a Tree City USA.

Sarah’s fundraising efforts really began when she was 4, and she did a mini-walk-athon for the March of Dimes, said her mother, Amy Connor. She saw the impact the organization had when her brothers were born prematurely.

Her desire to plant trees began when a cherry tree she admired on her street was cut down, which upset her. Then, a tree in front of her house was cut down, and she decided to raise money to replace not just those trees, but to plant 19 of them along Main Street in Northport, Long Island. She raised $3,000.

She also raised money for relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

“Then I chose Joplin after hearing of the tornado,” she said. “You can’t live without trees.”

For the Joplin fundraiser, as she did with others, she asked those buying lemonade to donate whatever they could.

“Some people put in 50 cents, some put in $5, some dropped money in the box and didn’t take lemonade,” said her dad, Gene Connor, a high school dance and theater teacher.

The teen comes by fundraising for charity by way of example: Her dad is in the middle of a 3,700-mile, 64-day bike ride from California to New York to raise money for a summer camp for children with cancer. The rest of the family is serving as his crew, although Sarah has ridden about 120 miles with him and plans to complete 400.

Gene Connor is putting in 12-hour days in the saddle in excessive heat, and to date has raised about $18,000 of his $50,000 goal. The funds generated will be used to provide scholarships for children to attend Sunrise Day Camp, where he has taught music and theater in past summers.

In 2007, he commuted on his bike to and from work for a year, and raised more than $12,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society. His inspiration was from his three sisters and his mother, all of whom were diagnosed with various forms of cancer within an 18-month period.

“We’ve had great support along the way,” he said. “Sometimes people hear what we’re doing and just reach into their pockets and give us whatever they can, even if it’s $1 or $5. It all goes to Sunrise Camp, and all of those little donations when put together can add up to send a child to camp.”

During a stopover in Pittsburg, Kan., the family was given two nights of lodging by the proprietors of the Himmel House Bed and Breakfast. Their daughter, Maggie Stephens, recently wrote and performed a play about the impact of cancer.

Regarding what her next fundraising project might be, Sarah said, “Joplin is ongoing for right now.”

And it seems that younger brothers William and James are following in their father’s and sister’s footsteps: James is raising funds to save endangered tigers, while William is collecting thank-yous to send to members of the armed forces serving overseas.

“Are they change-makers? I don’t know,” their dad said. “I think my children just see what I do and that it helps, and so they’ve come up with their own ways to make a difference, too.”

Donations to Sarah Connor’s Joplin project may be made at www.projectlemonaid.org, while donations to Gene Connor’s ride to support Sunrise Day Camp may be made at www.connorsarmy.org.

Tree fund

CHRIS COTTEN, director of the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department, said the $800 donation would be set aside for trees to be planted in parks affected by the tornado. They likely will be planted in late September or early October.

1
Text Only
May 2011 Joplin tornado
  • Creator of Joplin-based ‘Dear World’ exhibit features Boston bombing victims in new work

    The messages written on the skin of some Boston Marathon victims may be different, but Joplin residents will recognize the handwriting. Robert X. Fogarty, the creator of the “Dear World: From Joplin with Love” exhibit, took his signature style of photography and inspiration to Boston. Fogarty traveled to Joplin in 2011 and took pictures of community members with inspirational messages written on their bodies in black ink.

    April 21, 2014

  • 052212 unity walk1_72.jpg SLIDESHOW: One year later, One day of unity, updated Photos from a day of events commemorating the May 22, 2011 tornado anniversary

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Redevelopment Corp. preparing for first property sale

    The first sale of property from the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. to Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is scheduled for May 16. The city staff will be working to prepare for that sale, it was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the JRC.

    April 9, 2014

  • Issues prompt pair to seek help from city; allocations approved for repairs in tornado zone

    Two people spoke to the Joplin City Council on Monday night about issues they would like the city government to address. Elizabeth Clement, a Neosho resident who works in Joplin, asked the city to operate more surveillance in parking lots because of the number of cars stolen. She said her car was stolen from the parking lot at Northpark Mall and used in robberies.

    April 7, 2014

  • National institute releases final report on Joplin tornado

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology on Friday released a final report into the technical investigation of the May 22, 2011, tornado that struck Joplin — the deadliest tornado in the United States in the 64 years that official records have been kept.

    March 28, 2014

  • r031814tornadofunds2.jpg Local tornado fund board cites appreciation, accomplishments

    The 991 donations ranged from $1 to $119,000. They came from all over the world. On Tuesday, the managers of the Joplin Tornado First Response Fund gave an accounting of how those donations, which totaled about $995,950 with interest, were given in 41 grants, recipients of which included 27 local agencies.

    March 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dan Riddell 0604013.jpg Farmers Insurance extends tornado recovery commitment

    After investments that included stationing a company executive in Joplin for eight months last year, officials with Farmers Insurance said the company will continue its post-tornado commitment to Joplin in 2014. “We’re going to stay until the end,” said Doris Dunn, director of community relations for the company, on Wednesday. “That includes sending in another 100-plus volunteers and making some additional financial investments.”

    February 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • r021714rescuedog.jpg Author prepares for release of children’s book featuring heroic Joplin rescue dog

    Carolyn Mueller is both a dog lover and a storyteller. So when she got the opportunity to write a story about a Joplin dog named Lily who helped search for survivors after the May 2011 tornado, she jumped on it. “Dogs like Lily can be heroes, too,” she said.

    February 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • VIDEO: Lost photos claim day to be held at museum

    National Disaster Photo Rescue and the Joplin Museum Complex have scheduled a public viewing and photo claim day for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the museum complex in Schifferdecker Park. The project, originally known as Lost Photos of Joplin, was organized in the weeks after the May 22, 2011, Joplin tornado to reunite storm victims with photos displaced by the storm.

    February 4, 2014

Purchase Globe Photos


Featured Ads
Facebook
Tornado: Multimedia coverage
Tornado: Obituaries
Tornado: Columns
Tornado: Mike Pound
Tornado: Lists of missing, fatalities & relief
Tornado: Donate & volunteer
Tornado: Resources & relief