On a Saturday afternoon in a laneway in Scarborough nine-year-old Theodore Blackwell is selling lemonade.
The laneway is busy. A convenient rat run between the shops and a stone’s throw from the beach it won’t be long before another person rounds the corner.
The makeshift stand keeps with the relaxed surroundings of the weekend – a camping table a couple of chairs and a sign. The operation is simple. Theodore the front man; friend Levi the maker; and crucially the owner of a lemon tree, plus other friends living nearby providing support. Makers of the sugary syrup vary from Theodore to Levi to Levi’s brother, creating subtle changes to the tangy mix to try on a hot day.
While some may applaud the entrepreneurial way of earning pocket money rather than playing computer games the donations made from this venture never headed to the back pockets of those involved.
People in Boxes
Before the stand even appeared, a meeting was convened in a garage where it was democratically decided who should receive the funds. It was Theodore’s suggestion which won out.
“I just wanted people to have better homes, instead of some people who just have carboard boxes they can barely fit into,” explains Theodore. “I have seen some people around Perth with no home and just a sleeping bag and two apples.”
Anita, Theodore’s mother, suspects another interaction left an impression.
Old London Town
“Just before COVID-19 hit we went to London. There a was man named Stuart who was sleeping outside our hotel in Windsor. We spent a good amount of time talking to him and understanding his personal situation.”
Anita thinks this stuck with Theodore as he keeps bringing it up.
“We went to McDonald’s, and we brought him back some food,” Theodore said. “It was freezing, and he had a sleeping bag but was wearing just a t-shirt and shorts. There were at least twenty people on the street near Windsor Castle.”
“He asked for a coffee with five sugars, and we gave him some money,” Anita added.
The proceeds of the lemonade stand were brought to the office by Theodore personally on behalf of everyone involved.
“Theodore’s compassion and action is inspirational. He has shown us that we can all take action to make the world a better place and this is a great thing,” Michelle Mackenzie, CEO of Shelter WA said.