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Vandalized school receives outpouring of donations

By Danielle Paine

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW What began as a dark situation for a local Montessori school that was vandalized, has become a story of hope and generosity, a credit to a caring community.

After a Reminder Publication's story about the school's playground being vandalized in January, more than $800 was donated to the Montessori Children's Corner school in East Longmeadow Methodist Church.

Director of the school, Kathleen Sousa, said that phone calls, donations and words of comfort poured in from area residents, former students and local business owners.

"What made all of us feel good is that there is definitely a concern for our school, the sadness of the little children and that our school is important to people," Sousa said. "It really touched all of us."

Julie Donahue of The Pizza Shoppe used collection jars and a raffle to raise $200 to replace some of the destroyed playground equipment.

"I guess I just thought about the little kids, wondering why someone would do that to them kind of broke my heart," Donahue said. "I just wanted to help out and I couldn't personally but I wanted to use my resources."

Those who couldn't donate funds offered to help in other ways. One local scout group has offered to help spread new mulch there this spring and a local women donated a Little Tike's climber with a slide and a playhouse that her own children had grown out of.

The money will be used towards a new wooden bench, replacing or repairing the broken play equipment and refurbishing the playground this spring.

"It is sad that it happened but I am thrilled that people have responded to the school," said Pastor Kelly Turney.