E.B. girl to sell lemonade, open boutique for charity

Rebekah Makin (r) and Saige Grant work the lemonade stand last year. Rebekah Makin (r) and Saige Grant work the lemonade stand last year. EAST BRUNSWICK — A local seventh-grader who last year helped raise $2,400 for children with cancer by selling lemonade with a friend is taking her efforts a step further this year.

This month, Rebekah Makin, 13, will open Tara’s Closet, a venue for vintage, gently used and new items like those sold at yard sales, inside the East Brunswick Curves, 3 Lexington Ave., in the Lexington Downs Centre. The grand opening will coincide with Rebekah’s annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which is part of a national effort to raise money for children with cancer, their families, and the hospitals that help them.

The lemonade stand and grand opening event will be held June 13 and 14 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Curves.

Tara’s Closet is the creation of Rebekah as well as her mother, Cheryl, and Christopher Opinski. Stemming from their love of yard sales and shows such as “Clean House” on the Style Channel, the Makins said Tara’s Closet seems an answer to these difficult economic times for customers, as well as a way to benefit a worthy nonprofit organization, the family said.

The boutique, which is already open, offers an eclectic mix of household items, clothing, décor, small furniture, appliances, costume jewelry, toys and books at yardsale prices, according to the Makins. They accept only gently used items in working order and like-new nature. There are new, unused, unopened items, as well as those of a more vintage and antique heritage. Tara’s Closet sales, except for a portion to pay for the room rental, will benefit the national Alex’s Lemonade Stand organization.

“People can get rid of the items they don’t use, and it will go to a good cause at the same time,” Cheryl Makin said.

Tara’s Closet is named in memory of Rebekah’s friend Tara Stout, who passed away from leukemia in 2007 at the age of 10. The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was very important to Tara, who saw many lemonade stands raise money at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she was being treated. She wanted to host her own stand, but her sickness kept her from it.

“We miss Tara and want people to always remember her,” said Rebekah, who was a St. Bart’s Buffalo Cheerleader with Tara for many years. “We thought this would be a good way to honor her.”

In a discussion with Tara’s mother, Michele, Rebekah learned of Tara’s unrealized wish to raise money for children with cancer through the lemonade stand. As a result, last June Rebekah hosted a lemonade stand. Rebekah and Saige Grant, another of Tara’s friends, worked hard to publicize the event and plan additional attractions such as a tricky tray, games, a DJ and baked goods. Together, they raised more than $2,400 for the organization.

This year, Rebekah, who attends Hammarskjold Middle School, will again host the stand during the annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand days, and simultaneously help with the grand opening of Tara’s Closet. The boutique has hours similar to the East Brunswick Curves, which Cheryl Makin owns.

To learn more about the national Alex’s Lemonade Stand effort, visit the online fundraising website, www.alexslemonade. org. For more information on Tara’s Closet or Rebekah Makin’s Alex’s Lemonade Stand, call 732-254-0505.