Wytheville 11-year-old raises $1,100 for the hungry

Published: Jan. 17, 2020 at 9:31 PM EST
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When you're 11, it's not hard to count other people's money.

"71 dollars now," sang Ryland Stitt after some quick addition.

Stitt, 11, is the proud owner of Ry Ry Roo's Lemonade. He's quite the little salesman.

The venture started with a simple question for friends at his church.

"He went to his church and asked for some money and they gave him $11," said Mike Pugh, with Open Door Cafe.

But he knew he needed to turn a sour situation, sweet.

"No, I've never seen that many homeless people, sitting outside, salvaging for shelter," recalled Stitt. It's a memory that still haunts him.

Stitt visited the nation's capitol with his folks a few years back. Seeing the homeless is what made Stitt want to do something for the homeless back in his hometown of Wytheville.

"Well, probably everyone needs this, we're a small community but we have our homeless and hungry just like the large cities, and it's important that we take care of our own," said Pugh.

Open Door Cafe is where Stitt turned. The cafe serves lunch every day of the week to anyone and everyone, free of charge. The suggested donation is $8. Some people can pay that, some people can't. Regardless, everyone leaves full.

This past summer Stitt created his lemonade stand and set up several times, finally reaching $500. His church matched that amount, and the extra hundred dollars was made Friday afternoon, just before Stitt presented a check to Open Door.

"I'm not sure how it feels to be famous. I don't feel that famous, I just feel like I did the right thing," said Stitt, while being interviewed by his dad for Facebook Live.

$1,100 or 138 meals: not bad for an 11-year-old who already has big plans for next year.

"Next time you come see my lemonade stand, it's not just lemonade, it's hot dogs!" said Stitt.

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