On Friday, Sept. 11, LemonAid was held like never before. There was no block party. No closing down the street for an in-person celebration. No booths with games and activities for visitors to enjoy.
But the day was just as important and poignant to the residents of the 700 block of Bonnie Brae, who annually hold the event, as it was to those who contribute every year. And as of Sept. 13, over $30,000 in donations were made, matched by Ken and Patty Hunt, for a total of over $60,000 for the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation Covid-19 Fund.
“It’s pretty astonishing how generous this community is,” said organizer Christine Hauri.
This year’s event, different because of COVID-19, featured a half hour Virtual LemonAid Memorial, with a silent pause remembering 9-11. The Roosevelt School band played “America, the Beautiful.” Antonio Martinez, Jr., representing the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation, spoke. Maywood Fine Arts, former recipients of LemonAid, performed a BLM dance. River Forest President Cathy Adduci made an appearance, thanking donors for their contributions.
A highlight of the day, said Hauri, was the Bonnie Brae Bucket Band, let by cochair Kate Strugeon and her sister Cassidy. A group of about 20 kids from ages four through 14 “had a blast, made a lot of noise, and were really good by performance time. They performed much of the afternoon, keeping the block lively.”
The block hosted drive thru donations, maintaining touch-free donations through the use of a lacrosse stick with the net covered in fabric. Each car received a LemonAid car magnet.