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Monday, August 31, 2015

Enterprising kids sell food to raise money for charity

From the left: Francesca, Drew, and Paul.
Francesca Gabriel, a 10-year-old resident of the Lincolnia Hills community, and her associates raised about $300 so far this summer selling lemonade, baked goods, and produce at their stand on Kling Drive, Alexandria.

On Aug. 30, s steady stream of neighbors stopped by Francesca’s Lemonade Stand and Paul’s Produce to snap up heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers, okra, yard-long beans, pumpkins, ground cherries, and a huge, green, curving “monster squash,” as well as banana nut muffins made by a neighbor and ice-cold lemonade.

The kids make a sale.
The stand was operated by Francesca, along with next-door neighbor Paul Tremante, 8, and Drew Metzig, 16. Francesca and Paul are students at Parklawn Elementary School, and Drew, Paul’s babysitter, is a 10th grader at Annandale High School.

All of their proceeds will go Walk 4 Hearing, a charity run by the Hearing Loss Association of America. Paul, who wears a hearing aid, is a regular participant in the Washington, D.C., Walk 4 Hearing, which this year will be Oct. 24.

Amber Dewey and her garden.
This was the kids’ fifth produce stand this year. They plan to hold one more “last big blowout of the summer,” with lots of baked items as well as a variety of vegetables. They haven’t set a date yet but it will probably be on a Sunday in September after Labor Day.

Francesca, a budding entrepreneur and chef, wants to have her own restaurant when she grows up. A veteran of culinary camp, she “makes a mean risotto,” says her mother, Carol Gabriel. “I make a mess but I love doing it,” Francesca says. “And mom cleans it up,” Carol added.

Heiloom tomatoes and raspberries.
The produce was cultivated by Paul’s mother, Amber Dewey, in an experimental garden that takes up most of her backyard and where she tests different varieties to determine the best ones. Her favorite tomatoes for eating raw in salads or sandwiches are a toss-up between “big rainbow” and “pineapple,” while she found “romanesco” is best for tomato sauce.

Dewey provides cuttings of her best plants to community gardeners and is in charge of the garden at the St. Martin de Porres Senior Center in Alexandria. More volunteers are always needed. If you want to help, contact her at

A thriving garden.


  1. Great Grandmother's Spatula!

  2. Their tomatoes are wonderful, as is the lemonade! What wonderful, selfless kids.

  3. Let us know when this stand opens again. What a great idea & what wonderful kids (& moms).