The saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That’s exactly what some St. Joseph County residents did when they hosted a lemonade stand on South Bend’s west side Saturday.
The stand was setup on the corner of Adams and Vassar Streets, where four teens have been shot this year – three fatally.
“Teenagers are being shot, teenagers are shooting each other, they're getting into fights,” said Mishawaka resident Melissa Stokely. “Somebody needs to care.”
A group of residents concerned with the amount of violence in South Bend handed out free lemonade, water and popsicles to folks who passed through the neighborhood Saturday afternoon.
They hope the lemonade stand will be the beginning of change in South Bend.
“Somebody is looking out their window and they're not hearing a bunch of cussing, they're not seeing a bunch of vandalism, they're not seeing shots fired,” said South Bend resident Maurice McGee. “They're seeing something positive.”
While many folks picked up a cup of lemonade and went on their way, others stuck around to chat about the challenges the city faces.
It’s the beginning of what organizers hope will be many conversations that will start to make a difference.
“Whatever is going on, .there’s not no whole group of people running around shooting each other,” said South Bend resident Muhammad Shabazz. “It's a small minority and we want to let the majority of people know you don't have to fear the minority.”
At a planning meeting for the lemonade stand Wednesday, one of the biggest complaints among residents was the lack of attention elected officials give to neighborhood events.
But South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg showed up and chatted with several residents at the event.
“He came out here on his own and he's making an effort to talk to each of them individually,” Stokely said.
Several folks who stopped by the lemonade stand say they’re now planning similar events in their own neighborhoods.
On Aug. 25, a block party will be held in the 1100 block of Jefferson.
There will be free food, live music and entertainment. Anyone is welcome to attend.