Two local 10-year-old girls raise $1,000 for Save-A-Pet USA in Port Jefferson


The time tested, humble lemonade stand has empowered two local 10-year-olds to make a difference for pups in need.

Elise Ciardullo of Port Jefferson and Amelia Theodorakis of Stony Brook donated $1,000, plus a heap of blankets, to Save-A-Pet USA Friday. To reach their $1,000 goal, the duo worked various lemonade and homemade goods stands since last spring, all of which boasted the same slogan: ‘Buy a cup, save a pup.’

“I sometimes see stray dogs on the street, and I realized dogs have a life here with us,” Elise said. “Humans aren’t the only ones that matter, all animals matter. I keep seeing them and I really want to help them.”

Elise and her family adopted their American Village Dog, Holly, from Save-A-Pet as a puppy six years ago.

“She’s very sassy,” Elise described Holly.

Her friend Amelia was eager to support the Port Jefferson-based organization, which rescues and adopts out abused, abandoned and homeless cats and dogs.

“She saw a lot of adoptable sad dogs there, and she wanted to do something about it,” Amelia said. “They were running low on food and water and stuff, so we were going to raise money to get blankets and food and water and other things they may need for them.”

Pups for every season

What could have been a one-off lemonade stand grew into a business model for Elise and Amelia, one they employed multiple times in their front yards to raise funds over several months.

“For summer, it’s ‘Lemon Pup’ and we sell lemonade with a free piece of candy,” Elise explained. “For fall, we have ‘Pumpkin Pup.’ We make pumpkin spice cookies, apple cider, pumpkin bread, brownies and doughnuts.”

“And in December, we were going to call it ‘Santa Pup,’ but we realized there are a lot of other holidays in December, so we’re going to call it ‘Snow Pup,'” Amelia said. She added that the wintertime stand will offer hot cocoa and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, among other treats.

If not for changing with each season and stick-to-itivness, the girls may have never reached their $1,000 goal. Their efforts offer determination and patience as advice for anyone looking to start a similar venture for a good cause.

“I think you should keep going because we waited a lot of hours to get the money we have now,” Amelia said. “Get ready to put in the hours.”

The fundraising duo already are thinking about how they can make a difference next year.

“I think we’re definitely going to keep going with this business, but I think we can look into donating to a different cause. It could be a children’s hospital, maybe St. Jude,” Elise said. “For now, I think we should stick to Save-A-Pet.”

Top photo: Elise Ciardullo and Amelia Theodorakis operating their Lemon Pup stand. (Credit: Andrew Theodorakis)