Throughout the month of June 2010, more than 550 Rita's locations encouraged guests to purchase paper lemons for $1 each to raise money for the charity. Each Rita's guest was able to personalize his or her lemon and then post it on a "Wall of Hope" to demonstrate the local community's collective support for ALSF's mission.
The response was overwhelming and during the month of June, Rita's was able to raise $575,000—the largest amount the company has raised since partnering with ALSF in July 2006. Since Rita's and the foundation first teamed up, Rita's has raised more than $2.5 million toward the foundation's cause and is ALSF's top-contributing corporate fundraiser.
ALSF was humbly established in the summer of 2000, when four-year-old cancer patient, Alexandra "Alex" Scott, began a quest with her front yard lemonade stand to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Despite her deteriorating health, Alex continued to hold annual lemonade stands until her passing in 2004. Alex's spirit and determination gave birth to a nationwide fundraising movement, which has generated more than $30 million toward finding a cure for pediatric cancer.
"We greatly appreciate our guests', franchise partners', and treat team members' participation in what has become an annual tradition of giving at Rita's," says Jim Rudolph, chairman of the board and CEO of Rita's Italian Ice. "We are so proud and honored to be able to support Alex's Lemonade Stand in such a meaningful way, and we genuinely share in the organization's drive to find a cure for pediatric cancer."
In addition to the paper lemon fundraiser, Rita's has continued to honor the late Alex Scott since 2006 when it officially and permanently renamed its lemon ice flavor, "Alex's Lemonade." Lemon, one of Rita's two original flavor offerings when it opened in 1984, is one of the company's most popular flavors.
"We are incredibly fortunate to have a committed partner like Rita's Italian Ice," says Jay Scott, Alex's father and executive director of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. "On behalf of our foundation, I want to thank the thousands of Rita's employees and customers for canvassing the walls with paper lemons again this year."