Little Mac Connatser was glued to the news, like so many others, as Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
Seeing so many children ripped away from their families sparked something in the Texas boy, who decided he needed to help in any way he could.
“It was one night in bed,” Mac’s father, Adam Connatser, told Inside Edition Digital. “We were watching the news, the coverage of the conflict. He just said, ‘I think I want to run lemonade stand to raise money for Ukrainian kids.’ One thing led to another and here we are.”
Mac, who has no direct connection to Ukraine, set up a little lemonade stand in his Dallas neighborhood.
“I wanted to help the children in Ukraine and I thought that was the best way that I could do it, since I couldn’t go over there and help,” the 10-year-old said. “I thought that I could do my part from here and I thought that would be the best way to set up a lemonade stand.”
Determined to give the proceeds from his lemonade stand to the efforts being made to save children in Ukraine, Mac set up shop last Sunday.
“Of course, your initial reaction as a parent when your kiddo wants to start lemonade stand is, well, we ought to support him in what he wants to do, but we’re probably going to spend more money on the lemonade than we will make,” Mac’s mother, Aubrey Connatser, said. “Nonetheless, every kid should do a lemonade stand if he wants to. So he then asked my mom if he could hold the lemonade stand at her church, Royal Lane Baptist Church, in Dallas.”
Mac’s grandmother gave generously for her lemonade, handing her grandson $100. Another parishioner paid $30 for their refreshing treat.
“I was really grateful and I thought that, well, if it’s already gone to a good start so far, I think we’re going to do a really good job and here we are,” Mac said.
By the time he sold his last glass, Mac was well on his way to raising $2,000.
Mac is continuing to raise money to donate to Save the Children’s Ukraine emergency fund. As of Wednesday, he has raised nearly $7,000 and is continuing to collect donations through a GoFundMe campaign.
“The way I selected that is there were other charities that I could have donated to, but I wanted it to go to something that would help Ukraine. Save the Children has a dedicated fund to Ukrainian children,” he explained. “So I thought it would be great if I gave the money there. I think Save the Children has done a very good job by saving children.”
Knowing he’s well on his way to reaching his goal, Mac has found hope in his efforts and the generosity of those around him.
“I’m really grateful and it makes me feel very happy, because I think we could save a lot of lives by doing this,” he said.
Watching their son go above and beyond to do his part for a cause he’s passionate about has been as rewarding for Mac’s parents, but it’s sobering to also consider that Mac was motivated by the unspeakable horrors unfolding in Ukraine.
“It’s heartwarming to have a kiddo that is this empathetic and generous,” Aubrey said. “It’s also devastating to watch what’s happening in Ukraine. So it’s bittersweet that Mac has taken on this task and that this weighs heavily on his heart. If you ever want a kid to react in an appropriate way to a tragic situation, I’ll take it. He’s a great kid. He always has been, and we’re super proud.”
Offering words of advice to fellow children wanting to help in any way they can, Mac said, “I would say to them, if your heart pulls you, then either set up a lemonade stand like I do, or just donate $20 or $100 to a place that would help Ukrainian children, or Ukrainians in general, because every single cent counts.”
Quoting his own mother’s motto, Mac added, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”