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Lauren Senden raised more than $1,000 with her lemondade and treat stand and donated the proceeds to Kids Against Hunger.

Lauren Senden’s lemonade and snack stand started the way most do: by a kid who just wants to have a little fun, mix up a little lemonade, and maybe make a little money.

She did all that. And at the end of the day, she had a tidy sum of $60.

That was five years ago.

Today, to put it in retail terms, business is booming.

Lauren’s lemonade and treat stand had its annual day of selling sweet stuff last Saturday. But instead of making enough cash to treat the family to a nice meal, she brought in enough money to feed ... well, a lot more.

The 11-year-old brought her $1,038 down to Kids Against Hunger’s Mankato office Thursday. (Since the start, this is where nearly all her money has been donated.)

And when she passed the check over to Kids Against Hunger Director Tim Stromer, he quickly pulled out a calculator to let her know how many meals she’d provided.

“You just fed 4,516 kids,” Stromer told her. “You know any other kids who have done that? I don’t.”

Lauren’s success started small, but has about doubled every year. Last year she made $650, and had a goal this year of $700.

She and her mother started ramping up their efforts for this year’s stand during the last week of school. Both grandmothers pitched in and baked furiously to make sure there was enough sweets to keep Lauren’s stand flush with food. Monster cookies, cupcakes, Nutter Butters, etc. She gets some help from her friend, Riley, too.

To get the word out, Lauren got up in front of the congregation at Messiah Lutheran Church and asked people to come. She did the same at Hoover Elementary School for her class, and then for the other fifth-grade classes.

She hung fliers. Made up business cards. Told everyone she knew about her annual event.

And then the people came. Some gave money before the event based on the effectiveness of Lauren’s talk at church. Some came to the stand, plunked down a $20 bill for a lemonade and treat and told her to keep the change. The stand was busy that day. And Lauren and her family were busy that whole week.

Lauren doesn’t mind.

It’s helped give her a sense that she’s doing something to help the world.

She said she used to lie awake at night because she was worrying about the people in the world who don’t have enough to eat.

“Now I do this,” she said. “And it’s helped. Rather than worrying, I try to do something. It’s important. And somebody has to do it.”

Lauren’s mother, Lynell Senden, said her daughter is passionate about good that comes from the lemonade and treat stand.

She said Lauren has also learned quite a bit from it. “This has taught her how to manage money, time management, communication,” Senden said.

It’s also taught her that, when you want something, sometimes you have to work for it.

The week leading up to lemonade stand day is a long one. A lot needs to get done, and it comes at a time when most kids are thinking of nothing but school letting out.

Lauren admitted the work is hard.

“She said, ‘I love the day,’” her mother said. “I said, ‘If you enjoy the experience, then you need to do the work to make it happen.”

Lauren says she’ll be back next year. As always, she’ll be at the end of her driveway on James Drive in North Mankato on the first Saturday after school lets out, hoping to sell enough lemonade and cookies to feed as many hungry kids as possible around the world.

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