Zack Francom sells lemonade to buy wheelchairs for the disabled

By Nikki Dorrell

Zack Francom sells lemonade to buy wheelchairs for the disabled
11-year-old Zack Francom is using funds from his lemonade stand to buy wheelchairs for those most in need.

Meet Zack Francom: he is 11 years old and he runs a hugely successful lemonade stall on his front lawn called Zack’s Shack. While this seems somewhat unremarkable, what Zack does with the funds is what makes him a hero.

Inspired by a fundraiser held by his elementary school to purchase a wheelchair for a Mormon church charity, Zack was left feeling as though he could better his recent philanthropic efforts.

“I decided that I wanted to raise enough to buy one all by myself,” he said.

“I thought, ‘What if I couldn’t walk or run or ride my bike? What would that be like? I wanted to help make life easier for somebody who couldn’t walk or run and didn’t have money for a wheelchair to help them get around.”

Four years on and business is booming, with Zack’s Shack having become a popular annual event in his hometown of Provo, Utah, where hundreds happily queue up in front of the youngster’s house each April during spring break.

Zack’s efforts have inspired the town, as Tanise Chung-Hoon, managing director of LDS Philanthropiese explains, “When people visit Zack’s lemonade stand they see a great example of a little boy with a big heart”.

“When you see the genuine fun he has in the work, you immediately realize that he feels just as happy and lucky as the wheelchair recipients. Zack is the perfect example of how philanthropy changes the giver as well as the receiver.”

Selling lemonade for 50c and 2 cookies for $1 (or one sugar cookie for $1) all home-made by his mum and grandma, this year Zack’s Shack raised a record breaking $5,685.

The funds were enough to purchase 40 wheelchairs, which were sent to Guatemala, Guam and 53 other countries, where a wheelchair can often cost more than a year’s wage.

Zack’s mum, Nancy Baird, has seen first-hand just how vital and life-changing her young son’s efforts are.

“There was one lady in Guatemala who crawled for 10 miles with her baby on her back to pick up her wheelchair,” says Baird.

At an age where most kids are scheming for ways to fund their next new gadget, Zack has his sights set on drumming up more funding for wheelchairs, with plans to expand Zack’s Shack across the country.

“Imagine if there were hundreds of Zack’s Shacks, nobody who needs a wheelchair should have to go without one just because they can’t afford it.”

Zack’s ultimate goal is to see the fruits of his good deeds: “My goal is to fly around the world someday and hand out the wheelchairs”.

We have no doubt Zack will soon be on his way.


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