Those who know her would probably describe A’Layah Robinson as no ordinary 7-year-old, but a giver.
A’Layah Robinson of Sulphur, Okla., started “Lemonade for Love,” a lemonade stand with all proceeds going toward giving foster children hope.
Growing up in foster care, she and her brothers know the struggles of going from one house to the next. One Saturday afternoon, Robinson saw a group of teenagers at a lemonade stand, and something sparked in her heart. She decided to start her own stand to help foster kids.
What started out as a small idea turned into “Lemonade for Love,” a ministry that seeks to give hope to hundreds of Oklahoma children.
When asked why she started a lemonade stand, Robinson simply stated, “I help foster kids, and I want to give them hope.” She said what really inspired her was seeing her brother have no possessions of his own. “When I came to my forever home, I had lots of boxes of things, but my brother had nothing. He only had one outfit.”
The proceeds of her lemonade stand – which have accumulated to approximately $20,000 – go toward stuffing bright yellow bags for foster children. Each of the bags contains what she proclaims are “the essentials” for foster kids – a “blankie,” a Bible, a stuffed animal and a toothbrush. So far, Lemonade for Love has donated around 700 bags to Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services. Their goal is to donate 900 by the end of the summer.
It’s very important to Robinson to include Bibles in the bags. “I didn’t have a Bible, and I had never heard the Word of God before. I want other foster kids to know Jesus,” she said. Robinson made it very clear that Christ is the most important part of her ministry; she never wants that to be overshadowed or censored.
Such passion for others has not gone unnoticed, as Robinson was recently recognized by Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC), as a recipient of their Loaves and Fishes Award. The award recognizes children and youth who have donated time, talent or treasure to help others through the ministries of OBHC. The name of this award refers to a passage of scripture, John 6:5-13, which demonstrates what God can do with even a small gift when it is placed in the Lord’s hands.
Standing with family, A’Layah Robinson, center, was presented with the Loaves and Fishes Award May 7 during a special foster care awareness service at Calvary Baptist Church in Sulphur, Okla.
Robinson was presented with the award May 7 during a special foster care awareness service at Calvary Baptist Church in Sulphur, Okla. During Calvary’s morning service, OBHC Foster Care Coordinator Teri Blanton presented the Loaves and Fishes Award. She emphasized Robinson’s desire to share Christ’s love with foster children.
“Someone in this sanctuary has been investing in the lives of others,” Blanton said. “She has been making sure that no child feels unloved. It’s important to her that children who come into foster care know someone out there is praying for them.”
Behind Robinson’s ministry is her biggest fan – her mom Misty. Misty adopted Robinson and her two brothers from foster care.
As Pastor Tom Hefley gave a sermon about the importance of loving one another, he highlighted the mother’s dedication to her daughter’s ministry.
“To see the doors that you’re opening and the walls you and your family are kicking down; I know A’Layah’s name is all over it, but I know mom is doing a lot of work,” Hefley said. “I know it came from seeing what A’Layah saw, and her sharing her testimony with you.”
The service concluded with the entire church body gathering on the stage to pray for Robinson and her family. After the service, Robinson shared about her upcoming birthday plans.
“I don’t want any gifts for my birthday. All I want is donations for foster kids,” she said with a smile. Robinson is having a “Birthday Bash” with all proceeds going toward her ministry. “We’re going to have cotton candy, hot dogs and even a bounce house!” The birthday celebration will be June 10 at the Murray County Expo Center in Sulphur. To learn more about Robinson’s Lemonade for Love or her Birthday Bash, visit facebook.com/alayahslemonadeforlove.
To learn more about Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, visit obhc.org.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Lauren Capraro writes for the Baptist Messenger, baptistmessenger.com, newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.)