This post is sponsored by Applebee's.

Some Boy and Sidekick have been obsessed with lemonade stands lately. Their school is in an apparent budget crisis so they keep doing fundraisers, and a fellow classmate mentioned that a lemonade stand might be a good idea to raise money. Now, all of the kids want to dole out drinks to the neighborhood. The problem with this plan is that we live in a farm town, so there are approximately five neighbors who drive by our dirt road each day, and they tend to go 50 miles per hour because it's the middle of nowhere. Since none of this lends well to the fundraising experience, that idea was vetoed. Fortunately, there happens to be a very meaningful lemonade stand opportunity going on right now, so I took the chance to show my kids the real potential of a fundraiser.

Baby drinking lemonade

Applebee's® Neighborhood Grill + Bar restaurants nationwide have teamed up with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for the last fourteen years to take a stand against childhood cancer in a fundraising campaign going on through this Sunday, August 12. The restaurants raise money in honor of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, which was established in 2005 to continue the mission of four-year-old Alex, who set up a lemonade stand to raise money to help other kids while fighting her own battle with childhood cancer.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand at Applebee’s

Our local Applebee's went ALL out. They had a big stand setup in the entryway to help draw attention to the fundraiser. Everyone who walked through the door went by this display, so it was impossible to miss.

Lemonade card for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser

The walls and ceiling were covered with these lemon-shaped pin-up cards that are sold in $1 and $5 increments. It was pretty inspiring to see.

Childhood cancer donation cards

Guests who donate $5 receive a thank you card entitling them to a free lemonade or free kid’s meal during their next visit, or $5 off $25 orders made from August 12 through September 30. So if you're an Applebee's regular, you're basically donating for FREE by diverting those funds to the foundation and getting the equivalent amount back.

Fundraising with lemonade

Applebee's has raised a total of $8.2 million towards Alex's goal in the past, and their goal this year was another $1 million. The boys and I did some math practice to try to determine how many $1 pin-up lemons that equates to (they got that without help) and how many $5 pin-up lemons that would be (this one took a bit more working through).

Lemonade with berries

A portion of lemonade sales during the fundraiser is donated as well, so we also helped out by ordering ALL the lemonade.

It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.

Blackberry lemonade

My date is big on the blackberry flavor, while I like strawberries in mine. I love that Applebee's puts real fruit in their lemonade. The kids were super-stoked about this, too, insisting that make different varieties of lemonade back at home with the lemons we grow. I was happy to oblige.

Alex’s lemonade stand shirt

The kids were also pretty excited that our server was wearing an Alex's Lemonade Stand shirt, and his name happened to be Alex as well.

Kid in Applebee’s booth

Yes, you guys, my children are easily entertained and I plan to keep the bar low so that minor coincidences like this continue to fascinate them well into their teenage years.

Alex’s lemonade staand setup at Applebee’s

All in all, it was a good lesson for a good cause. We brought the idea of a fundraiser home by showing exactly how BIG a fundraiser can be. This impacts millions of lives! We learned a little math lesson, got some recipe inspiration, and we even stumbled on some printable Alex's Lemonade Stand coloring sheets when we went to donate more online through the Applebee's website back at home. If you're looking for a way to make the idea of a fundraiser more tangible and meaningful for your kids, this is definitely a good way to do it while making a difference!

Have your kids ever participated in a fundraiser?