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Youth mix up #039;lemon-aid#039; for victims

ROME TOWNSHIP - Nine-year-old twins Jacob and Carly Nichols have put a new twist - uh, squeeze - on the old saying, "that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade."

The Rome youth were not the ones handed the sour fruit but their cool drinks raised $207 to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast. The two-day beverage sale on State Route 243 had motorists pulling over to lend a hand to the two youth with big hearts.

"We just kind of felt bad for people that lost their homes and everything they had," Jacob said. "Some people lost their friends and everything else. It kind of made me real sad."

Jacob's sister and fellow Fairland West fourth grader agreed.

"Many people lost everything," Carly said. "It feels good to help other people and know that you are really helping a lot."

The twins' mother, Susan Gebhardt, and step-father John Gebhardt were rightfully proud of the children's initiative

"They got the idea from church (New Hope United Methodist) where they were taking up a collection," John said. "(The congregation) was talking about doing things away from church so (the children) decided they wanted to do a lemonade stand. Š It was all their idea."

Mom agreed that Carly and Jacob deserve all the credit.

"We are very proud of them. I have tried to teach them to be compassionate to other people and both are like that." Susan said. "I think when you praise a kid for doing something like this, it lets them see it is a noble effort."

Though they didn't ask a set price and allowed people to donate whatever they could, the siblings are not new to lemonade sales.

"We have done (a lemonade stand) two or three times. It was how we made the most money, so it was our best idea," Carly said.

Warm weather and the holiday weekend may have helped the Carly and Jacob, who spent six or seven hours hawking the cool drinks Sunday and Monday. The twins' parents were impressed with the community support.

"People were very responsive," John said. "They were really lining up."

The youth will donate their proceeds to The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), a non-profit international humanitarian aid organization that works across the world to provide relief from hunger and disasters and spread the message of peace.

For more information about UMCOR, call (800) 554-8583, go online at www.methodistrelief.org or by mail at

UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068.