When life handed more than 2,000 Baltimore County children lemons, Cooper Beeson knew the answer: Lemonade.
Cooper discovered two and a half months ago that there are 2,014 homeless children who are currently enrolled in Baltimore County public schools. That is a 100-child increase over the 2010-11 school year, according to Baltimore County Communities for the Homeless, a non-profit advocacy group.
“It makes me sad that I have a house and that there are kids who don’t,” the socially aware 7 year old told Patch Thursday afternoon.
Cooper approached his mother Diana Beeson with the idea of a lemonade stand a few weeks ago. She said it was something he said he wanted to do for his upcoming 8th birthday.
Cooper has spent his summer telling his friends and family about the stand, which will sell lemonade for $1 a cup at Seminary Park on Aug. 11 (one day after his birthday). Cooper went as far as telling his friends he'd prefer donations in lieu of birthday gifts to reach his $600 goal.
The Lutherville Laboratory student has been busy building buzz around the stand, speaking to community groups (see photos) and soliciting donations from local grocers.
Diana joked that it was difficult to explain to a child the concept of material cost versus profit to which an innocent (soon to be) third grader replied, “well can’t people just give us stuff?”
In an email exchange with Sue Bull, homeless services coordinator for Baltimore County Department of Planning, Diana indicates that Cooper might be posting a YouTube video in the coming weeks ahead of the fundraiser.
Be sure to check back with Patch if/when the video is posted.
Those who would like to donate to the Baltimore County Communities for Homeless but cannot make the fundraiser, monetary donations can be sent to BCCH, P.O. Box 6860, Towson, MD 21285.
Facts about homelessness in Baltimore County (from www.bcchcares.org):
Approximately 550 men, women, and children reside in Baltimore County shelters daily.
An average of 40 requests for shelter are received by the Baltimore County Homeless Screening Unit each day.
Over 6,000 unduplicated homeless are served each year in Baltimore County alone.
2014 homeless children attended Baltimore County Public Schools during the 2011-2012 school year. This is an increase of 100 children from the 2010-2011 school year.
According to the results from the 2012 Point-in-Time Census, 29% of the homeless reported being homeless for the first time.
In 2011, Health Care for The Homeless Baltimore County received 2387 visits from individuals experiencing homelessness. The most common adult health conditions were hypertension, diabetes, heart and lung diseases, flu and colds, mental health disorders, and substance abuse. Pediatric patients made up 9% of the clients seen and were most commonly treated for respiratory illness, ear infections, well child care and immunizations, and behavioral and developmental concerns. 59% of patients had health insurance when they initiated care at HCH.
The fair market rent for a 2-bedroom unit in Baltimore County is $1,231.00 per month. This means that a minimum wage worker earning $7.25/hour in central Maryland would need to work 128 hours per week in order to afford the housing costs of a 2-bedroom unit.
Did you know that it costs approximately $37,200 to shelter a family of 4 for one year? In comparison, to rent a 2-bedroom apartment, it costs approximately $14,000 per year.
The #1 reason for homelessness in Baltimore County is job loss and eviction.
Additional causes for homelessness are: lack of affordable housing; poverty; physical & mental health concerns; vulnerability of single parents & extended families; foreclosure; domestic violence; effect of political trends & influence; and natural disasters.
Many households are only two paychecks or a medical illness away from homelessness.