September 20, 2019 – Patrick Kenny is much like any other five-year-old boy. He loves being outside, dreams of being an engineer when he grows up, and loves all things LEGO. But what sets Patrick apart from his peers is his profound concern for others. “He’s an old soul – we’ve always known it,” says mom Lindsey. So it came as no surprise to his family when Patrick expressed a desire to put up a lemonade stand in his neighborhood near Chicago and give the proceeds to children and families in need.
Patrick’s interest in helping others grew from a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital commercial he saw when eating dinner at a restaurant. He could not fathom why the kids in the commercial, many of them younger than himself, were sick. His curiosity led to a discussion about charities and giving back to families in need. The next day, Patrick and his grandfather took a trip to a local park, where he noticed someone putting on a lemonade stand. The pieces instantly fell together. Upon returning home, Patrick declared, “I want to have a lemonade stand, and I want to give it to charity.”
When looking for the right organization to donate to, Lindsey felt it was important that it be one where Patrick could get involved in the learning process. After hearing about Common Threads from a former Chicago board member, Lindsey decided that it was the perfect match. Not only does Common Threads’ cooking and nutrition education benefit children in need, but it also represents a unique learning opportunity for Patrick, who already enjoys spending time helping out in the kitchen and is an expert at making homemade lemonade.
Thanks to generous donations from his grandparents and enthusiastic involvement from community members on what Lindsey remembers as “the hottest day ever,” Patrick’s lemonade stand was a great success, raising $93 in total. His contribution means that three kids will be able to participate in Common Threads programming, learning the skills they need to be able to cook for life. And these kids won’t be alone—Patrick and Lindsey have been invited to attend a Chicago cooking class this fall so that they can witness the real impact of their hard work.
Thanks from all of us at Common Threads – we look forward to seeing Patrick continue to do great things for his community!
Common Threads was founded in Chicago in 2003 by CEO Linda Novick O’Keefe, celebrity chef Art Smith and his husband, artist Jesus Salgueiro, as a way to bring under-resourced children together, help them celebrate different cultures and teach them about healthy nutrition. From its humble beginnings in a church basement, Common Threads now works with children and families in 12 markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Pittsburgh, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, El Paso and Erie. For more information, visit commonthreads.org, commonbytes.org, or search #CookingForLife on social media.