Max sells coffee from his driveway.

Modern-Day Lemonade Stand Helps the Homeless

7-year-old becomes barista and donates percentage of profits to SVdP

When Max was 4-years-old he watched his parents make espresso every morning in their kitchen. He wanted to be a part of the action, so they taught him how to use it himself.

Three years and many espressos later, Max noticed his mom drinking a Starbucks coffee. He asked her, “Is that coffee better than the espresso I make for you?” Max’s mother Sarah told him his coffee was much better. So Max decided he would start his own ‘shop,’ similar to a lemonade stand — only his shop would sell specialty coffee drinks.

“We sat down with him to figure out how much he should charge per cup, what his menu should look like and what he wanted to buy with his funds,” says Sarah.

Being a budding musician, Max ultimately decided he would use his profits to buy a piano. But part of his ‘business training’ included a lesson in philanthropy.

“We talked about good businesses and how they will often donate a percentage of their profits to charity, so we set about figuring out what percent he would donate and what his cause would be.”

Wanting to to help homeless individuals in Phoenix, Max turned to his grandmother, who is a social worker, for her charity recommendations. She recommended St. Vincent de Paul and explained to Max that she had always been impressed with the services SVdP provides for their community.

Max got to work with his parents in designing his signs, making a menu, and creating a Facebook page. He named his shop “Piano’s Cafe.”

Max sits behind his coffee shop stand.

Max set up shop in his driveway each weekend for several weeks with all the necessities of a normal coffee shop, including creamers, syrups, mugs, sugars, and of course the thing that started it all, the espresso machine.

The outpouring of support from his friends and neighbors was overwhelming. He had several repeat customers, friends stayed to chat, and many drove from the opposite side of town for his specialty coffees. Customers loved the idea that a portion of his proceeds would be helping the less fortunate in Phoenix through SVdP.

In the end, Max raised $560 from his coffee sales. With matching gifts from his parents and grandparents, he reached his goal of being able to purchase a piano and gave the remaining proceeds of $105 to SVdP.

“I think we’re very lucky to have a nice home, good jobs and a supportive family,” says Sarah, “Our kids go to good schools and have so many resources at their disposal. I don’t want them to take that for granted, and want them to know that it is their responsibility to help people who have less than they do.”

We love seeing children of all ages using their passions to learn more and help others through innovative projects like this. We’re grateful to Max for his donation and wish him luck in his next business venture! (Which by the way, we’ve been told will be called “Yoyo Cafe”)

Max takes a tour of SVdP with his younger sister and friend, Asher.