central park
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
August 15, 2023 ·  3 min read

8-year-old sets up Central Park lemonade stand to help friend who lost everything in devastating Maui wildfires

In a world where acts of kindness often define humanity’s true essence, the story of Julian Lin, an eight-year-old with an indomitable spirit, shines as a beacon of hope and compassion. Julian’s inspiring endeavor has unfolded in the heart of New York City’s Central Park, where he, affectionately known as “Julian Business Man,” has set up a lemonade stand that carries a profound purpose: to aid his dear friend Ryan, who, along with his family, lost everything in the devastating Maui wildfires.1

Julian’s journey of empathy and resilience began during his vacation earlier this year when he, alongside his mother Julie Meerschwan, explored the enchanting landscapes of Maui and met Ryan, a boat guide who illuminated their experience with his warmth and knowledge. The bond forged during that fleeting encounter became a lifeline when the island was engulfed by the merciless wildfires, leaving Ryan’s life in ruins.

Lemonade Stand: An Oasis of Maui Care and Support

Central Park, typically bustling with activity, has been transformed into a haven of goodwill and solidarity, courtesy of Julian’s lemonade stand. Far beyond a mere point of commerce, this stand is a powerful platform where Julian shares the stories of those affected by the Maui wildfires. With every cup of lemonade, Julian pours not just refreshment but also the message of unity, compassion, and resilience.

As part of his tireless efforts, Julian initiated a GoFundMe campaign that resonated far and wide. The fires, having damaged more than 3100 homes, killed at least 96 people and done well over $1 billion in damages, have devastated the island.2 The funds raised from this campaign, combined with the proceeds from the lemonade stand, have amassed an astounding $2,408.50, illustrating the tremendous impact Julian’s mission has had on individuals near and far. The campaign’s threefold distribution – benefiting Ryan’s family, the Maui United Way, and the Maui Humane Society – mirrors Julian’s holistic approach to aid, encompassing both human and animal well-being.

A Ripple of Gratitude and Compassion

Ryan’s heartfelt response to Julian’s acts of kindness serves as a testament to the profound impact of even the smallest gestures. His emotional statement, “I’m crying right now because of how you guys thought of me,” encapsulates the deep sense of gratitude and connection that Julian’s mission has cultivated. In parallel, Julian’s mother, Julie Meerschwan, echoes Ryan’s sentiment, underlining the significance of offering support in times of adversity.

Julian’s mindset is eloquently captured in his own words: “Generosity to me is like breathing. If you make me not be generous, then I’ll die.” Such wisdom from a young soul underscores the innate human need to give and uplift, a sentiment that reverberates powerfully through his lemonade stand initiative.

Maui wildfires: A Lesson in Humanity

Julian’s unwavering dedication and boundless empathy have transformed him into a symbol of hope, particularly in the face of the unprecedented devastation caused by the Maui wildfires. The conflagration, responsible for claiming the lives of 96 people, stands as a stark reminder of nature’s fury. Yet, Julian’s story serves as a counterpoint, highlighting the unbreakable human spirit that responds to catastrophe with unity and compassion.

In a world often preoccupied with individual pursuits, Julian’s actions remind us of the profound impact collective goodwill can have. His lemonade stand transcends its tangible purpose, becoming a testament to the resilience of the human heart and the potential for positive change, no matter one’s age. Through Julian’s selfless actions, we are reminded that compassion is not just a virtue; it is an innate part of what makes us human.


  1. 8-year-old sets up Central Park lemonade stand to help friend who lost everything in devastating Maui wildfires.” Newsner. Natalie Krawczyk. November 14, 2023.
  2. 8-Year-Old’s Central Park Lemonade Stand Raises Money to Help Friend Who Lost Home in Maui Wildfires.” People. Abigail Adams. August 14, 2023.