Spaghetti dinner raises funds for boro school playground project

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:52

    HAMBURG-When the new Hamburg School addition opened in September of last year, there was no money left in the budget for a new playground. The current playground is located at the bottom of a very steep hill with old, faded equipment crowded into a small area. With that in mind, a committee was formed under the leadership of Dawn O'Grady to raise money to construct a new playground. She has spearheaded several fundraisers for the project, including a recent spaghetti dinner. The events have been raising money at a steady pace, but with a completion goal of less than two years, efforts will need to be stepped up, she said. Estimates of the cost of new equipment range from $35,000-$55,000 to fill the almost one-half acre that is now an open field adjacent to the school. Total contributions stand at approximately $11,000. O'Grady has contacted playground manufacturers, and her poster with pictures of potential playground set-ups hangs in the cafeteria is a reminder to the children to do all they can in the quest for their goal. O'Grady's fundraising tools have been as simple as a donation jar at an assembly last Christmas, as commonplace as candy and cookbook sales, and as elaborate as selling signed sports memorabilia. For the spaghetti dinner, the committee enlisted the aid of parents and local businesses. The families provided 59 pounds of pasta, Tony's Pizza donated cheese, the Farmers Market gave lettuce for salad, and senior citizens volunteered to provide fresh-baked desserts. The seniors also contributed their time by acting as wait staff and clean-up team. O'Grady has appealed for assistance to Assemblywoman Alison McHose and Wachovia Bank, in addition to contacting Oprah Winfrey, Wal-Mart Good Works Program, Blockbuster, and applying for a State Farm grant of $5,000. Future fundraisers include a holiday paper ornament sale and a 50-50 raffle which will run for several months before the drawing. Visit, Hamburg Public School Playground Project, to check the progress, to see what's coming up, or to make contributions.