PLAINVILLE - Nico Fasold and his family had 50 gallons of lemonade at the ready Saturday as Nico‚Äôs Annual Lemonade Stand entered its 10th year.
Nico, 14, now entering his sophomore year of high school, started the stand at just 4 years old. For 10 years, he‚Äôs donated his earnings to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
‚ÄúI picked the Make-A-Wish Foundation because it helps kids‚Äô dreams come true,‚ÄĚ he said.
Nico aims to raise $100,000 before he finishes high school. And he only needs $18,000 more. Last year alone, he raised $12,000, more than enough to grant a wish, which usually costs $10,000.
His stand started small. The first year he raised $65.
The stand was impossible to miss. Three giant monster trucks stood next to tables selling snow cones, popcorn, baked goods, apple fritters and, of course, lemonade. Bright yellow canopies provided shade for visitors.
‚ÄúFor me, the most important thing is: if you look around, it‚Äôs the kids who are doing everything,‚ÄĚ said Kyle Fasold, Nico‚Äôs father. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs just amazing‚Ä¶ It‚Äôs grown exponentially throughout the years.‚ÄĚ
Nico‚Äôs friends, as well as his sister, Gianna, and her friends, handed out cold cups of lemonade and snacks.
‚ÄúHe loves that it goes to helping kids,‚ÄĚ Fasold added.
Nico‚Äôs uncles and his grandfather, Angelo Lastrina, also helped out. Lastrina came with four other Khol‚Äôs Cares of Enfield volunteers to make apple fritters.
He said it was Nico who inspired him to give back.
‚ÄúThroughout life, whatever you have, you have to give back to the community,‚ÄĚ he said.
Lastrina wasn‚Äôt the only one who found the youngest wish-granter in the history of Make-A-Wish Connecticut inspiring.
Joe Carilli Sr. said Carilli Brothers Motorsports has been supporting Nico for the past five years. They brought two of the three monster trucks and were also selling T-Shirts. They give the money they raise directly to families.
Carilli said Make-A-Wish is so important for kids and families because it can ‚Äúhelp them forget what they‚Äôre going through for a time.‚ÄĚ
Carilli said his youngest son, James, had leukemia, so he knew firsthand all the good the foundation does.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve been on both sides of the fence,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúMake-A-Wish Foundation is important to our family,‚ÄĚ said Carilli‚Äôs oldest son, Joe Carilli Jr. ‚ÄúWhat Nico does is near and dear to us.‚ÄĚ
When James Carilli was 7 years old, he used his wish to go to Florida for a week. Now, he gives back through his nonprofit, Drive to Survive.
‚ÄúMake-A-Wish gives an opportunity to these kids to have that one amazing ‚Äėwow‚Äô moment,‚ÄĚ he said.
Plainville police also turned out. They drove in with sirens blaring and lights flashing in support.
‚ÄúWe show up generally every year,‚ÄĚ said Cpl. P.J. Buden, who is also Nico‚Äôs neighbor. ‚ÄúWe love to support Nico and his goal.‚ÄĚ
Officer Joe Accarpio said Nico is ‚Äúsuch a young kid with such a big heart,‚ÄĚ and is an inspiration for other kids.
Nico has granted eight wishes over the years. Most recently, he helped a Plainville boy go see ‚ÄúThe Voice‚ÄĚ live and helped another child go to a Boston Red Sox game.
Pam Keough, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Connecticut, said the foundation grants 250 wishes a year in the state.
‚ÄúWe can‚Äôt grant wishes without donations,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúEvents like this are key to amazing wishes.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThings like lemonade stands do make a difference.‚ÄĚ
For more information, visit Facebook.com/NicosAnnualLemonadeStand.
Michelle Jalbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.