By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on October 12, 2021
Manteo Elementary School first grader Memphis Price has always loved cats. Although he isn’t able to have a cat of his own because of a family member’s allergy, Memphis makes up for it by regularly going to visit all the kittens at the Outer Banks SPCA. He often goes in to read to the kittens and sing songs to them that he has learned at school.
“We’ve always had animals, we’ve always rescued animals,” said Autumn. “He just has a sweet spirit for any furry four-legged animal…or scales…it doesn’t matter.”
So when it came time to decide how to celebrate his seventh birthday on Oct. 1, Memphis didn’t want presents or even a birthday party. He wanted to help the kittens.
So Memphis had the idea to operate a lemonade stand instead of a birthday party as a way to make money to buy food, treats and toys for the SPCA kittens. To prepare for that, he found a lemon costume, practiced his very own lemon dance, made a poster and bought birthday cupcakes to give away.
After setting up shop on the morning of Oct. 2 at Kelly’s Automotive in Manteo and then moving the operation to his house, Memphis raised a total of $300 for the kittens.
“We barely got things set up and people just started coming,” said Autumn, adding that she, the automotive shop and friends shared the news of the lemonade stand on social media.
Dare County Commissioner Ervin Bateman was one of Memphis’ customers on Oct. 2. He told his fellow commissioners during an Oct. 4 meeting that even though he doesn’t like lemonade, he stopped by anyway to make a donation. When he found out what Price was raising money for, he said, “the warmness in his heart really made me feel good.”
Once Memphis closed down his lemonade stand that evening, he and his family went right to Family Dollar on a shopping spree for the kittens.
“He picked out big bags of cat food and cat treats and toys and went to the register and paid for it all himself,” said his mom, Autumn, adding that Memphis still has about $80 left from the lemonade stand. He plans to use that for a cat tree to put in the kitten room of the SPCA.
OBX SPCA Outreach Coordinator Trisha Forsythe said the animals and the staff at the SPCA were so grateful for Memphis’s donation.
“It really means a lot to us when we receive donations of any kind. That being said, when children come up with an idea to get donations from their community for the animals at the SPCA, there is something incredibly special about that,” Forsythe told the Voice, noting the time Memphis made a plan and saw it through in order to highlight a cause he cares about.
“To do this at a young age is brilliant, and gives us all hope for our future,” she added.
For his part, Memphis said the lemonade stand was fun, because it helped him with math “and it was fun meeting new people and seeing friends from school.” He also said he liked spending his money on many kittens instead of on just one kitten because “I get to help a lot of them.”