Playa del Rey first-grader’s lemonade stand will bring Christmas to a family in need

By Gary Walker

Savannah Browning is buying Christmas presents for a homeless family with the recent proceeds of her lemonade stand
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Wittgen

Seven-year-old Savannah Browning’s lemonade stand at the corner of Falmouth Avenue and Redlands Street is a hit, but instead of taking her proceeds to the bank she’ll be giving the money away to make sure less fortunate children receive Christmas presents.

Savannah’s mother Jennifer Wittgen says her daughter has always shown an interest in helping others, though she doesn’t recall how the colorful cardboard lemonade stand, which started during the summer, became a conduit for Savannah’s activism.

“Her dad and I have always tried to install a solid work ethic in her and teach her that if you want something you have to earn it,” Wittgen said. “She’s always been a real go-getter and has talked a lot about helping people who don’t have as much as she does.”

A gregarious first-grader at multilingual Goethe International Charter School in Del Rey, Savannah decided she will use her lemonade proceeds to buy Christmas gifts for a struggling single mom with two young children in Palmdale. The family was referred to Wittgen by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services.

Savannah collected $342 over two Saturdays in late November and on Dec. 14, and expects to continue operating her stand this weekend. In addition to lemonade, she also sells holiday ornaments she makes from salt dough (similar to Playdough) in the shape of gingerbread men, stars, bells, candy canes and snowmen of different colors.

An eager salesperson, Savannah explains to prospective customers that she is raising funds for homeless children and lets her sunny personality take over.

“I’ve never been afraid to talk to people,” she said with confidence. “Some people were really generous and didn’t buy anything but gave money anyway.”

This past Saturday, Louie Saenz of Westchester pulled over when he saw the stand and ended up giving Savannah $5.

“I always try to support children when they’re doing things for a good cause,” said Saenz, who later told a smiling Savannah, “You’re going places.”

For her part, Savannah is just happy to be spreading happiness.

“I feel really happy now because I have a lot of toys and now someone else can have toys too,” she said.