Nine-year-old Kamryn Johnson’s friendship bracelet pop-up sales started with just her and some friends selling handmade goods from a little stand in a Chanhassen neighborhood — a table, two jugs of lemonade, and a bowl with just half a dozen bracelets.
Now Kamryn and her “Bracelet Bunch,” as her mom Shani Johnson calls them, are setting up shop in neighborhoods throughout the Twin Cities with painted rocks, snacks, homemade masks and boards pinned straight across with every color bracelet you can think of.
Kamryn and her friends wanted to sell bracelets during quarantine and when Shani suggested they donate their profits to Minneapolis families and businesses affected by the riots “her face lit up,” she said.
Since the group started selling their bracelets over two months ago they’ve raised over $130,000 for various organizations which will go toward buying food and supplies for the Sanctuary Church Food Drive, KyleRudolph Food/Supply Drive for Minneapolis and supplying funds to rebuild Minneapolis businesses affected by the riots.
Though their small sidewalk sale has turned into a much bigger effort, the children have never complained about continuing their pop-ups or donating their funds, Shani said.
“It just goes to show they have sweet, kind hearts that want to help,” she added. “They just do it with so much joy and excitement so it’s sweet that we can do it as a community. It’s not just the Johnsons, it’s our community, it’s our neighborhood and then as we move into other neighborhoods and communities we feel like we’re uniting. It’s our goal at least to unite that community together as well.”
Prior Lake residents came out to show their support at the local sale held July 28.
Whether purchasing a bracelet or being helped through the fundraiser, Kamryn’s goal is to “make other people happy.”
Shani said her daughter and her friends can gain valuable lessons from their efforts.
“My hope and this was my hope way before the bracelet sale started is I tell my kids everyday look for the person who needs a friend. Look for the person who is by themselves who needs help,” Shani said. “I’m hoping this is just further instilling in them to see other people and to want to help and to love well and to serve others. We’re in a society of me, me, me and I’m hoping to raise my kids to see others before themselves.”
Knowing how to help those in need can be challenging, but even small acts can leave large impacts.
“With everything that’s going on in culture, I think there’s this question in the air of ‘what can I do? What can I do where I’m at?’ I might not be the person who can go serve in Minneapolis, I might not be the person who can go here and go there, but something I can do is I can go buy friendship bracelets and a rock and whatever else we’re selling over here and that can be my way to give back, so that’s probably the biggest lesson I have learned,” Shani said.
Directions for ordering bracelets and donations can be made via the “Kamryn & Friends” Bracelets For Unity and Justice GoFundMe. For more information on future pop-up sales visit the Kamryn & Friends for Unity and Justice Facebook page.