As a former CFA volunteer, Damian Coyne from Mount Eliza knew all too well what the brave firefighters would be going through during the recent bushfires – as did his family. Their house was full for the festive season as they were supporting family friends who had recently sold their house in Mount Eliza. These friends were about to head to their new home — a farm in Corryong — and were unable to move due to life-threatening bushfires approaching the area. With strong fears that they’d lose it, Damian and his family felt a need to assist with fundraising to try to distract his friends from the crisis at hand.
Alongside his wife, Kristen, five-year-old Violet, seven-year-old Joshua, and 10-year-old Harrison, he got to work setting up a lemonade stand to raise much-needed money for the Corryong CFA and community where it was needed most. The Mount Eliza community came together in droves, with neighbours from near and far donating home-grown lemons and sweet treats.
The Coyne clan ran the stall from 8am until 1pm and during this time they sold an impressive 30 litres of lemonade. The early start was to accommodate a cycling group that was coming by and wanted to offer its support, and the foot traffic just continued from there. The family took it in turns to run the stall and the kitchen, with the kids ever so excited whenever a car pulled up. The Thermomix was the star of the day, reducing the chore of squeezing the fresh lemons. Violet, Joshua and Harrison excelled at bottling the lemonade and operating the stall, complete with hand-drawn signs.
A whopping $1500 was collected as a result of their efforts — and there’s definitely nothing sour about that. Damian spoke of how incredibly grateful the Corryong region was and how excited the kids were when they took a portion of their fundraising dollars to the Mt Eliza CFA. “It couldn’t have been made possible without countless lolly and lemon donations, and of course the work of our amazing kids. Their enthusiasm and effort was a huge help. We even had Mt Eliza CFA drop by and show their support. It was a great opportunity for us to thank them for their service.”
It’s not the first time this family has shared their famous lemonade, with a previous effort raising $380 in only a couple of hours for the Cancer Council last year. “I think we set off a trend,” said Damian. “Lemonade stands kept appearing, which is so great to see. It’s great that young kids are getting involved and giving of themselves.”
The community fundraising efforts have spread far and wide, with countless others joining in. The Coyne family plans to hold the lemonade stand once a month for the next few months simply because, as the media coverage tapers off, he doesn’t want the local fundraising enthusiasm to do the same.
“It’s a secret family recipe, and everyone loved it. We were asked countless times for the recipe, but we’ll be keeping that a secret.”