BUCKHANNON – Eight-year old Ella Whitehair and her family were excited for a vacation they had scheduled in 2020 – a cruise.
However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit early in the year, their vacation plans were interrupted for the late-June excursion. But Ella decided not to be down about her canceled venture and turned lemons into lemonade – literally!
Ella, a resident of Buckhannon, spoke with her parents and told them she would like to host a lemonade stand one day during that vacation week, saying she wanted to make sure the money she raised went to a ‘good cause.’
“I wanted to help people who need some extra help right now because of the pandemic,” Ella said. “I always hear about the Upshur Parish House in church, so I wanted to give it to them so they can help other people who really need it.”
Ella attends the First United Methodist Church in Buckhannon and Upshur Parish House Director Kristi Wilkerson is her ‘prayer buddy.’ Wilkerson said she was overwhelmed by Ella’s generosity and caring for others.
“We are so very thankful for Ella’s tremendous kindness,” Wilkerson said, adding that the Parish House is serving 43 families including 92 individuals each week.
“What an amazing gift we received from Ella and her family and neighbors!” she said.
Ella made her own lemonade – something she likes to do, and she even made her own sign, featuring a tall, cool glass with lots of ice and sweet lemonade. It was entirely Ella’s idea to host the lemonade stand and to donate $40 in profits to the Upshur Parish House to help support local residents who need assistance with groceries or paying utility bills.
She is the daughter of Todd and Alison Whitehair and Collette Whitehair. Ella attends Buckhannon Academy Elementary School where she will enter fourth grade in the fall. In addition to making lemonade and helping others, Ella enjoys riding her bike and playing outside.
In the future, Ella plans to pursue a career as a veterinarian because she wants to help animals and their human families.