Peyton Hornung calls it TLC.
It’s not the traditional acronym — tender loving care, though, ironically, that’s exactly what’s at the root of the 10-year-old’s efforts.
For Peyton, TLC stands for tomatoes, lemonade and cookies — treats she has collected and sold while raising more than $1,500 for local charities.
“I started two years ago when I read about the toys being stolen (from a local Salvation Army,” said Peyton, a fifth-grader at Canterbury School in Fort Myers. “I just wanted to help raise money.”
Peyton approached her parents, Michael and Carolyn Hornung, with the idea of using the traditional lemonade stand as a way to raise money to replace the stolen toys.
Her parents were supportive, as was a nearby produce stand, which donated the tomatoes and lemons. Peyton and her mom made the lemonade and cookies.
From there, “it went fine,” she said humbly.
Since then she’s raised hundreds of dollars for the South Fort Myers Food Bank, a local arm of the Harry Chapin Food Bank.
“People just drive by and donate whatever they feel is appropriate for the lemonade and cookies,” said father Michael Hornung. “She started on a Wednesday before Thanksgiving and worked from about 7 (a.m.) to 4 that afternoon. She raised about $350 on that first day.”
Peyton spent Tuesday night at Germain Arena, selling lemonade and treats to participants and spectators at the Bridge the Road to Hunger 5K that was held on the Estero Parkway bridge over Interstate 75.
Peyton said she hopes to continue fundraising for local charities.
“She has taken this from a one-time thing to bringing people together to help the community,” Michael Hornung said. “It just shows you that kids do pay attention. When tragedy strikes (like the Salvation Army thefts) kids notice, and sometimes they respond.”
Reach Chad Gillis at firstname.lastname@example.org. A version of this story was printed in The Banner.