WEST TOWN — You can help two Belmont Cragin families who lost their homes to fireworks by stopping by a West Town lemonade stand this week.
From 5-7 p.m. Thursday, rising seventh grader and West Town resident Lily Dahms will sell pink and yellow lemonade at the corner of Lee Place and Hoyne Avenue, near Mariano’s.
Dahms, 12, wanted to raise money for a charity with a lemonade stand before going back to school. When she learned about the Belmont Cragin house fires, she decided to raise money for the affected families.
Dahms doesn’t have a set price for lemonade; anyone who makes a donation will get a cup. She hopes to raise at least $150.
“We just thought it would be good to raise money for them,” Dahms said. “I feel good about it because it’s good that we’re helping families in need.”
Afternoon fireworks on July 1 were the source of the fires that destroyed the two Belmont Cragin homes, said Molly Seedhouse, a West Town neighbor and Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy teacher who knows both families through school.
One home housed children ages 15, 8 and 5, as well as a 65-year-old grandmother. The second home housed children ages 17, 15, 12, 8 and 6; the two youngest suffered minor burns.
While neither family sustained major injuries, both lost all of their possessions — as well as their cats. Fireworks are suspected in at least three other Chicago house fires in early July.
As of Thursday, both families have secured replacement housing, Seedhouse said. But they’re still in need of clothing and household items.
In addition to purchasing lemonade on Thursday, West Town neighbors can help by bringing donations of household items or clothing. Seedhouse will bring donations to the families.
Neighbors can also contribute to a GoFundMe fundraiser for the families.
Suzi Wahl, Dahms’ mother, said she was proud of her daughter for wanting to help the families. She hoped the fundraiser will bring neighbors together — and that it will be the first of many stands.
“Hopefully it will be the first of many,” she said. “I hope people come out, donate online. … I can’t imagine [losing everything].”
Check out an updated list of each families’ needs here:
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