Clovis tykes pitch in for tornado relief effort

Liliana Castillo: Freedom New Mexico Clovis residents, clockwise from top left, Landon Mihalik, , Zachary Mihalik, Tyler Mihalik, and Isaac Forsyth will be running a lemonade stand today to raise money for families affected by a tornado that hit Joplin, Mo.

Liliana Castillo

While listening to his mother talk about a family they knew who lost their home in the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo., 6-year-old Landon Mihalik had an idea.

He had a lemonade stand at one of his family’s yard sales and raised money for a hospital in Durango, Colo., in need two years ago and he could do it again for the people of Joplin.

The Mihaliks are friends with former Portales residents Justin and Kari Nevins, who lost their home in the tornado, and they will be sending any money raised to the Nevins family for use in the community.

Landon’s mother, Courtney Mihalik, asked a neighbor to join in and the simple plan quickly included a logo, T-shirts, brownies, cookies, biscuits and gravy, biscoti, coffee and a team of four neighborhood children to work the stand. The team also includes 4-year-old Zachary Mihalik, 2-year-old Tyler Mihalik, and 2-year-old Isaac Forsyth.

Courtney Mihalik, a graphic designer, coined the phrase “Sweet lil’ Monkeys Helping Others.”

The treats are free but donations will be accepted.

The children, all under 6, will be working the lemonade stand at 2301 Jadyn Lane in Clovis from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today.

They will serve biscuits and gravy to the first 25 customers.

Jodi Forsyth said her thoughts had been with the people of Joplin who lost so much but with two small children, she wasn’t able to physically go to Joplin. She wanted to do something.

“I’ve really been thinking about them,” Forsyth said. “And then Courtney brought up this idea and it was great. And it’s a great way to teach a kid about giving to others.”

Jodi Forsyth believes telling her son that raising money for others is a lesson he can learn even as young as he is.

The Mihaliks and Forsyths live in Clovis because their husbands are stationed at Cannon Air Force Base.

“Being a military family, we meet so many people throughout the country. We didn’t help when there were tornados in my home state of Alabama but this time we’re trying to think what we can do to help,” Courtney Mihalik said. “As small as we are, how can we help?”

Courtney Mihalik made sure to impress upon her sons the lemonade stand is about the people they’re helping, not themselves.

“I want them to know about serving others and find joy in it,” Mihalik said.

Landon Mihalik said he wants to raise $100 so the Nevins can buy “a house, toys, food and clothes and another house.”