Most 9-year-olds don’t have the forethought to start planning anything two years in advance, but Sadie Weinstein, now 11, did. Seeing her great-grandmother’s 95th birthday approaching, she set out to raise money to donate in her honor.
“Our family supports several causes and she decided she wanted to get involved in raising money. Each year for the past several years we have supported Atlanta Scholars Kollel,” her father Mark Weinstein said. “Back in 2017 we knew a watershed birthday was coming for her great-grandmother, G-d willing, and she wanted to do something special to honor her Mimi.”
Her initial goal of $5,000 was set in January of 2017, but after two years Sadie had raised more than $18,000 to donate for her great-grandmother, Miriam Stein’s birthday.
She first started selling lemonade, iced tea and apple juice in front of her home — Arnold Palmers were a top seller — and many who purchased were happy to add a little extra to support her cause.
“I really enjoyed meeting new people and explaining to them what I was doing, and why I was doing it,” Sadie said. “Everybody was very generous, and the more I smiled, the more they gave to our cause.”
In total, the lemonade stand averaged $47 a week, selling cups at 50 cents per serving — adding up to more than $2,500 each year.
In addition to the lemonade, she also worked between five and 10 hours each weekend at BrightWell Talent Solutions, where Mark is the CEO. She filed papers and amassed 250 hours in a year at $10 per hour, raising another $2,500 toward her goal.
“Sadie also saved her birthday and Chanukah gifts to add to our donation pool and had the chutzpah to ask the givers for ‘matching gifts’ if she gave the money to a charity/cause of her choosing. They all agreed,” Mark said.
Miriam is the matriarch of the Stein family in Atlantic City, N.J., according to Mark, where the family’s restaurant supply house has operated since the late 1800s.
When it came time to choose a cause, ASK seemed a natural choice.
“I got to know several of the rabbis well. She loves them, their dedication to teaching the Jewish community, and the gifts they bring by our home on the holidays,” Mark said. “She also knows that we have a lunch and learn at the office, and how that is like a grown-up Sunday school class, [as] she calls it.”
Sadie also explained why she found it so vital to support the Kollel rabbis, who she says, “keep us all Jewish,” and who will continue to do so in the future.
“The Jewish people have been here for thousands of years even though we have been treated so poorly by so many people,” Sadie said. “After thousands of years and so many generations observing Judaism, we kids are up next to defend and protect our faith and our homeland Israel now.”
Sadie’s fundraising was kept quiet, and she surprised her great-grandmother on her birthday – no doubt a big shock.
With an incredible accomplishment already in the books, Sadie isn’t planning to stop pushing her limits any time soon. She has already set a new goal.
“Now that Sadie has raised thousands of dollars to give away for the benefit of Atlanta Scholars Kollel, her next goal is to dedicate a Torah in honor of her dead relatives,” Mark said. “This is a lofty goal, but we are confident she will achieve it.”