Kids were selling lemonade for charity — until police arrived to stop it, Colorado mom says

Jennifer Knowles says her three sons were selling lemonade across the street from her house until police came and shut down the stand in Denver, Colorado.
Jennifer Knowles says her three sons were selling lemonade across the street from her house until police came and shut down the stand in Denver, Colorado. Jennifer Knowles

While one child’s lemonade stand was raising thousands, another was getting shut down by police this past weekend.

Jennifer Knowles told CBS Denver that she was trying to teach her three sons, Ben, 6, William, 4, and Jonathan, 2,a bout entrepreneurship and charity by letting them run a lemonade stand in Denver, Colorado on Monday.She told McClatchy the boys decided they wanted to help a 5-year-old boy in Indonesia as part of Compassion International, a nonprofit based in Colorado Springs. The money would sponsor the boy through the charity.

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Jennifer Knowles and her three sons were selling lemonade for Compassion International, a Colorado Springs-based charity. Jennifer Knowles

They set up at a park across the street from the home and the stand seemed to be a success, Knowles told ABC 7. But less than an hour had passed when the police showed up, the news station reported.

The officers were there to shut down the stand, CBS Denver reported.

“My boys were crushed. They were devastated. And I can’t believe that happened,” Knowles told ABC 7.

Non-mobilized food vendors need a temporary permit in order to sell food and non-alcoholic beverages at city-approved, designated sites, according to the city’s Parks and Recreation department. Its website says vendors or food trucks with no permit aren’t allowed in or within 300 feet of a Denver park or parkway unless it’s associated with a special event.

It would have cost the family $25 for the application, and $100 for a one-day fee, the website says. Knowles says they made about $200 — $50-75 from the lemonade and the rest from generous tips.

A spokesperson for the permitting department told ABC 7 that there are no rules that prohibit or protect lemonade stands.

CBS Denver reports Knowles suspected a nearby lemonade vendor called the cops on them. The family’s stand was selling lemonade 2 for $1, while the other vendor was selling glasses of lemonade for $7 each, the news station said. Knowles told McClatchy she knows someone reported them but doesn't know who.

The Denver Police Department told McClatchy that officers received "several complaints from permitted vendors" about a stand without a permit that was set up at the same event.

The department says it doesn't go out of its way to enforce matters "of this nature" but it has an obligation to act on complaints.

Knowles says she'd be "hesitant" to let her boys have another lemonade stand because there are no laws to protect them in Denver.

In Greenwood, South Carolina, a 9-year-old raised nearly $6,000 in two hours Saturday for his infant brother suffering from Krabbe disease, a rare and often lethal neurological condition, the Associated Press reported.

Three-year-old Hannah Pasley of Kansas City, North, dreams of becoming a police officer when she grows up. Hannah sold lemonade over the weekend to earn money to buy herself a police uniform - and succeeded. After officers from various law enforce