A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her.
Jayden Sink raised nearly $200 Friday while she sold lemonade outside the Equality House across from the Westboro compound, and the online effort has raised $15,000 and counting.
"Jayden and I went out there to raise money for Planting Peace, to spread love, to spread compassion," said her father, Jon Sink. "Our mission was not to stand up to Westboro Baptist Church."
The efforts have clearly irritated Westboro members, Equality House resident Davis Hammet said.
"She was so awesome. She was such a sweetheart," Hammet said. "She was right in front of this hate group. She was unfazed and unafraid, and they are so very vile and rude to people."
Jon Sink, founder of the philanthropic arts group, FRESHCASSETTE Creative Compassion, spoke with KCTV5's Bonyen Lee via telephone. The family lives in the Kansas City area.
Jon Sink said he is uncomfortable with the attention his daughter is getting, particularly after the backlash from Westboro.
"It really puts me in an uneasy position, knowing she's out there for everybody to see," he said.
Planting Peace, which promotes peace and equality issues, bought the home across from Westboro's compound. It was painted in March to reflect gay pride colors.
Jayden told her father that she wanted to set up a lemonade stand to help a charity. After doing research, they settled on Equality House because of its mission and efforts, not its location across from the Westboro compound, her father said.
"She saw pictures of it and thought it was the most beautiful house in the world," Jon Sink said.
The father and daughter arrived about 11:30 a.m. Friday and set up shop. Jayden set up hand-made signs including one that said, "Pink lemonade for peace. $1 suggested donation."
Hammet said he saw Westboro members pacing up and down the sidewalk and repeatedly making phone calls. He believes they tried to call the police, who declined to shut down the lemonade stand.
"They use every legal power possible to shut down any kind of opposition," he said.
He said they also yelled rude comments at those buying the lemonade.
A group of motorcycle riders from Fort Riley came by and bought lemonade, and also ruffled the feathers of Westboro members, Hammet said. One soldier stepped on Westboro property while taking pictures, prompting at least one person to yell profanities at the soldier, who responded that he fought for his freedoms, Hammet said.
Jonathan Phelps, son of Westboro founder Fred Phelps Sr., said the lemonade stand has given the church "a great preaching opportunity."
"Because every time you tell the story about the lemonade, you have to tell about the eternal hatred and wrath of God towards the impenitent sinner, and the popular sin of the day is the sin of sodomy," he said.
The group repeatedly tweeted a picture of wording on their marquee outside the Westboro compound. The wording, which uses a homosexual slur, says homosexuals and their enablers will burn in hell and "lemonade won't cool any tongues."
After the Huffington Post picked up the story about Jayden's lemonade stand, donations picked up. The goal was originally $500.
"It just resonates really well," Hammet said. "But we were shocked by how much money it raised."
He said it's crazy the remarks that Westboro members have made about Jayden and her lemonade stand.
"Jayden is 5 1/2 years old. She was having a lemonade stand for charity and they are saying nasty things," he said. "I pity them. It's sad they feel that way. We're not angry at them. We don't hate them. We feel bad for them. We know this comes from a very painful place and that's why they're lashing out. And it's unfortunate."
In addition to Equality House, Planting Peace runs orphanages, has helped treat 14 million for intestinal parasites, helped preserve 600 acres of rainforest and planted trees in earthquake-damaged Haiti.
To donate to Jayden's Pink Lemonade Stand for Peace, click here
The money will be used for an anti-bullying program in Topeka as well as a national effort to educate children about the devastating effects of bullying.
Westboro members have become infamous for their protests at military
and other funerals, as well as their hate speech involving homosexuals.
Their protest at military funeral even went all the way to the U.S. Supreme
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
5-year-old girl's lemonade stand draws ire of Westboro Baptist ChurchMore>>
Friday, April 18 2014 9:53 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:53:24 GMT
The police department's statements detail their use of GPS tracking, surveillance and the help of tips from the public that led to the eventual arrest of Mohammed Whitaker, the man suspected of being theMore >
Court documents detail how new-age technology, old-fashioned police work and observant eyewitnesses led to the capture of the man that authorities say was responsible for a string of highway shootings that terrorized the area.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 9:07 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:07:55 GMT
An ailing Miley Cyrus has canceled her concert Tuesday night at Sprint Center.The notice came a matter of hours before she was scheduled to go on stage.A concert promoter tells KCTV5 that Cyrus is in theMore >
An ailing Miley Cyrus is no longer in a Kansas City hospital, but posted on her Twitter page Friday morning that she is "sick of waking up to needles." She has postponed the rest of her Bangerz concert tour. More >
Saturday, April 12 2014 6:07 AM EDT2014-04-12 10:07:09 GMT
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral. A mother humpback whale and her calf were cruising just offshore when a set rolled in. J.T. Gray of NorthMore >
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral.More >
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:14 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:14:53 GMT
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte says they have the highway shooter suspect in custody. Police announced last week that they have positively linked 12 shooting incidents that have taken place onMore >
Kansas City police Chief Darryl Forte says they have the highway shooter suspect in custody. More >
Friday, April 18 2014 1:23 PM EDT2014-04-18 17:23:58 GMT
A 14-year-old girl told Overland Park police that a man attempted to abduct her while she was waiting at a bus stop.This occurred near West 87th Terrace and Nall Avenue at 8:19 a.m. The girl told policeMore >
A 14-year-old girl told Overland Park police that a man attempted to abduct her while she was waiting at a bus stop.More >
Friday, April 18 2014 10:02 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:02:47 GMT
Three people were injured in the series of shootings that Mohammed Whitaker is now charged in – two were struck in the leg and the other in the arm. None of their injuries were serious. After hearing newsMore >
After hearing news of Mohammed Whitaker's arrest and the subsequent charges against him, one of the first victims whose car was hit riddled by bullets said he can now breathe a sigh of relief.More >