The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier put out a call to help replace its playground damaged by a fire in July, and the community answered.
Thanks to donations from businesses, churches and individuals in Northeast Georgia and a gift of $72,000 from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, spokeswoman Brenda Bohn said the organization raised enough to meet its goal. She said the projected replacement cost is around $150,000 to $200,000 with insurance only covering a fraction of that amount.
“The fire struck a chord in the local community,” the clubs’ CEO Steven Mickens said in a press release Friday, Sept. 11. “There was an outpouring of support from people who wanted to know how they could help. The support has been heartwarming, and we are touched by the kindness and generosity that was shown to us by so many during these challenging times”.
Kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs even chipped in to help fund for a new playground for the Positive Place Club, including 8-year-old twin brothers, Harrison and Patrick Flack. Bohn said the two boys raised $667 through running a lemonade stand over a weekend.
Others got creative like Hargrove Engineers and Constructors, which is based in Johns Creek. Bohn said they held an employee luncheon and donated all proceeds to the playground fund.
“We are grateful and truly thankful for everyone’s thoughtfulness and desire to help” Joyce Wilson, the nonprofit’s chief development officer, said in a press release. “At Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier, we understand the critical need for kids to have a safe place to play and the important role exercise and play have in establishing healthy lifestyles for children at an early age. We look forward to getting started and to seeing the kids enjoying the new playground.”
Bohn said the organization is still in the process of hauling off the playground debris from the fire, which authorities reported was caused by arson. Once they have cleared out the charred equipment, she said they will look toward installing the replacement.
“We have found a playground that’s quite a bit different,” Bohn said. “It’s going to be a really amazing playground with incredible slides. We can’t wait to see it completed and the kids back out there playing again.”