KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Isabella Grimes is at it once again. The 9-year-old opened her famous Lemon-Aid stand at a youth fair, raising thousands of dollars to send local veterans to Washington D.C. next month on a Talons Out Honor Flight.
“It's really, really exciting,” said the 4th grader wearing the biggest smile. “Last year we sent three but you know this year we’re going to kick it up a notch and send ten.”
She, alongside her parents, are selling fresh cups of strawberry, blueberry and old fashioned lemonade to raise $5,000 to put the vets on the Sept. 30 flight. So far, this year she’s raised close to half the amount.
“This is what she wants to do,” said her father Daniel Grimes during an interview at the Kalamazoo County Youth Fair at the Expo Center. “She wants to help people. She wants to help veterans. And she wants to do it through lemonade. So I said you know why not? We can do it.”
Grimes said the business started years ago with Izzy, as everyone calls her, selling lemonade in her front yard. Since then they’ve purchased a trailer and have been traveling all around southwest Michigan, fundraising for vets. It’s a project dear to her heart.
"If you could see their faces when they see the memorial, they just light up with joy," said Izzy. "They just really love to see the memorial and acknowledge their friends."
The deadline for donations is Sept. 10. Grimes said if people can't find them at the fair this week or the Paw Paw Wine Fest next month, then they can donate online.
“I want them to be able to finish their life off with a happy statement,” said Izzy about the Talons Out trip. “For most of these veterans this is the last chapter of their life and I want it to be very happy for them.”