Farmington Hills boy raises money for homeless through lemonade stand

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published September 22, 2020

 Five-year-old Henry Hann sits at the end of his driveway June 11, passing out free Kool-aid to neighbors.

Five-year-old Henry Hann sits at the end of his driveway June 11, passing out free Kool-aid to neighbors.

Photo provided by Mary Hann

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FARMINGTON HILLS — You’re never too young to help out those less fortunate than you, and that was proved recently by Farmington Hills 5-year-old Henry Hann, who ran two lemonade stands in his neighborhood this summer.

But with the lemonade and Kool-Aid being passed out for free, accompanied by free smiles from Henry himself, the goal was never to raise money. Henry simply “wanted people to be happy” and spread good cheer to his neighbors.

They insisted, however, on donating money.

“My husband and I agreed that we weren’t going to charge. It was just going to be free, because we don’t need the money,” Henry’s mom, Mary Hann, said. “People were stopping, saying, ‘What do you mean you’re not going to charge?’ and Henry just kept telling people it’s free.”

After sitting out in two scorching summer days, June 9 and 11, Henry had raised $35. One customer donated $20, Mary said. With no need to keep the money, Henry’s mom asked him what he wanted to do with it. That’s when Henry came up with a very generous idea.

Earlier in the day June 9, Mary explained, while she was running errands with Henry, they came across a panhandler at the corner of an intersection.

Mary began to explain the panhandler’s situation to Henry, saying that he was asking for money, and Henry immediately asked his mom if they could give the panhandler some money, as well.

“I never have any cash on me, and I told Henry the next time I had cash, we would put some money in the car so if we saw the man again we could give it to him,” Mary said.

After Henry packed up his supplies June 11 and tallied up his total donations, he wanted to go right back to the panhandler he had seen two days prior and give him the money. At his mom’s suggestion, Henry and his family decided they would donate the funds raised to Focus Hope, so Henry “could help more than one homeless person,” Mary said.

“That just made me so proud that he would want to do that,” she said of Henry’s desire to donate the money. Mary added that she and her husband, Dave, pitched in $100 to donate, as well, to make the donation more substantial.

According to Focus Hope’s website, the nonprofit advocacy organization provides early childhood support and support for new parents, job training and placement; food assistance for seniors; and advocacy for equity and community empowerment to combat issues of racism and poverty in southeast Michigan. Learn more about Focus Hope at focushope.edu.

Empathy is critical today as societies grapple with a global pandemic, race relations and more, but Henry has always been kind and caring toward others, Mary said.

“I remember watching him watch ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos,’ and he was probably 2 (years old), and this little girl went down a slide and she got hurt. He just started crying,” she said. “My husband rewinded the video and watched it again, and he did it again. He was reacting to her getting hurt.”

Overall, Henry enjoyed spreading some joy to his neighbors. He said it felt “nice” to have money donated to him even though he wasn’t expecting it. He’d certainly do it again, he said, with Mary suggesting this time they may provide a hot chocolate or a warm cider stand as the weather gets more brisk.

“It really brought a lot of neighbors out of their house, and people that we don’t know stopped by to say hello,” Dave said, adding that it provided some human connection that has been lost throughout the pandemic. “We live on a street that we know a lot of people from walking up and down the street, but it definitely brought a lot of people out that we didn’t see before.”

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