Lumberton community gathers for fundraiser to honor boy who drowned at day camp

Just five days after the tragic drowning of a six-year-old boy at Liberty Lake Day Camp, in Burlington County, the community came together, holding a bubble launch and lemonade stand fundraiser in Michael Stewart’s honor and raising more than $10,000 for his family.

Bubbles filled the sky at the Old Fire House in Lumberton on Saturday in honor of Michael Stewart, the six-year-old boy who tragically drowned on his first day of summer camp on Monday.

Return Kindness and the Lumberton Police Department organized the bubble launch and lemonade stand fundraiser to celebrate Michael’s life and show support to the Stewart Family.

Dozens attended the event wearing green, Michael’s favorite color.

"He could’ve been the future president, future governor, future hero, but you know his life brought all these lives together for a good cause," said Troy Green, Founder of Return Kindness.

"My understanding was the child had just set up a lemonade stand with his sister and was selling lemonade in his neighborhood to collect some money, so we thought it would be a great idea to have a pop-up lemonade stand for a celebration of his life," said Chief Anthony Nippins of the Lumberton Police Department.

A table was set up with all of Michael’s cherished items including his favorite toys, books and pictures of him with his family.

Michael was described as a smart, funny boy who loved to draw and help others. He was very protective of his younger sister and his family said he was excited to learn to swim this summer.

"He was very spirited, and he had so much energy, a love of life, and he gave great hugs," said Jessica Kilgore, Principal of Ashbrook Elementary School.

"He talked about his cats. He talked about his sister. He loved running super-fast. He loved going out for hibachi, the whole experience of the fire, all of those things," said Karen Lynch, teacher at Ashbrook Elementary School.


6-year-old boy drowns at South Jersey summer camp: 'We are absolutely devastated'

A summer camp in Burlington County is grieving the devastating loss of one of their campers after tragedy struck on opening day.

Michael tragically drowned on Monday at Liberty Lake Day Camp. It was the first day of summer camp and the camp director said Michael was found unresponsive in the shallow pool. Despite life-saving measures, he was pronounced dead at the hospital.


The Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and Mansfield Police are investigating.

The Township of Lumberton declared June 29, 2024 as a celebration of life for Michael and as a tribute the Township will be purchasing and installing a bench in his memory.

"I just appreciate the community for stepping up for us and showing up for Michael," said mother Enjoli Stewart.

A funeral service for Michael will be held 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 6, at Central Church in Ewing. More information can be found on the Hughes Funeral Home page.