A daycare center destroyed in last month’s gas explosion in Springfield is getting some help to get back on its feet, thanks to a challenge grant from a local charity and a company vying to land a casino resort in the city. Square One says it was able to meet in one day a $25,000 matching grant challenge from The Peter and Melissa Picknelly Charitable Fund and Penn National Gaming. The non-profit agency serves more than 1,200 children and 250 families. Programs range from early childhood to parenting classes in Springfield and Holyoke. But two of its four centers in Springfield are now gone. Its Main Street facility that also housed their administrative headquarters was destroyed in last year’s tornado. And the November 23rd gas explosion leveled its center on Chestnut Street. Kim Lee, Square One’s vice-president of Advancement, says about two-thirds of the nearly 100 children enrolled at that location have been absorbed into the agency’s remaining centers in Springfield. She says the new funds will help their recovery effort, including the needs of those children directly impacted by the explosion.
“More crayons and additional paper, classroom activities, learning materials, additional equipment.”
Square One was able to place the remaining children with other providers. However, Lee says the organization has tapped out its capacity to bring in new children and revenue, and she hopes the challenge grant will encourage others to support the agency. Despite their situation though, she says things could be a lot worse.
“It was bad enough that you had two buildings completely destroyed. And yet we consider ourselves to absolutely be blessed that in both disasters not one child, not one staff member, not one member of any of our families had been injured.”
Square One will receive the grant at a formal event Thursday morning at its facility on King Street