A couple of years ago, Ed and I were at a grand opening for a friend’s business that is housed in a local warehouse space. In the corner of the space, utilizing about 4 bays, was a playground that had previously been used in a local indoor play-land for children, called Discovery Zone. We both immediately thought of Holy Cross and what a nice addition this would be for the kids. We made an inquiry with our friends about ownership, etc. as it seemed a waste for this equipment just to be sitting collecting dust. They informed us that the playground was owned by a church in Louisiana and that this organization was one of their best paying customers, making rent payments every month for the 4 spaces the equipment was stored in. We made sure they knew that if the church ever wanted to get rid of the set and donate it, we would be interested in talking with them.
Fast forward to about 8 months ago and I received a call from a person at the church asking if we would still be interested in taking ownership of the playground as a donation. I indicated that we would definitely be interested and asked what needed to be done to take possession. We worked back and forth for a few months with the church and the landlord of the rental space the playground was in. We were finally able to work out an arrangement to take possession and relieve the church of the monthly rental payment and remove the equipment from the warehouse space.
We started looking at possible shipping options to get the equipment to San Pedro on our own but could not seem to make the right contacts. Ed made an inquiry with some of the vendors he uses for his job. Yellow Freight stepped up and offered to donate the shipping costs from St. Louis to a port in Texas where the equipment could then make the next leg of the trip. We were again having issues with the set up to transfer the equipment from one trailer to another at a mutually agreed upon time and place and Yellow Freight once again stepped up to the plate and donated a 48 Ft. Trailer to transport the equipment, and would still donate the shipping costs. In addition to the trailer and shipping, Yellow put a call out to some of their vendors and came up with about 4+ skids of office and/or school supplies. Their employees also showed up at the warehouse to start the work of loading the trailer.
The company we work for also donated several cases of hand sanitizing products that filled up another skid. Our daughter is a 3rd grade school teacher and she posted a note asking for donations from the other teachers that she works with and came up with several boxes of items. We put a note out to our co-workers asking for donations, etc. One co-worker donated several items that she used when she was a Girl Scout leader, that gives detail and ideas on craft projects, some shoes, a computer, gum, just anything she thought could be used at the school. We also had another co-worker that contacted the vendor we use to supply our first aid cabinets and we were able to acquire a pickup truck bed load of first aid supplies. This co-worker also showed up to help load the equipment.
We spent about 5 days in January sorting and loading all the pieces. The temperatures for those days was hovering in the teens or in single digits. We had help from lots of different areas, the Yellow Freight employees, our co-workers, some personal friends and relatives that gave their time and effort to help with the loading.
We still have quite a few cases of hand sanitizing products in our garage and we will transport that to the truck as soon as we are sure the weather has stabilized and there is no fear of freezing as some of this product cannot be frozen. Along with the first aid and hand sanitizers, we have about 20 pairs of children’s shoes we found on sale and purchased.
The trailer is being stored at the Yellow Freight terminal in St. Louis until we have all arrangements in place to get the equipment and the numerous donations all the way to San Pedro.
By Dita aka Sandy – Photos courtesy of Sandy and Ed
I was not going to say anything in addition to what Dita wrote, but after a recent tour of San Mateo with Colomojo and her husband I felt like it would be a good idea to explain just how important what Dita Ed and all their friends and everyone else who has gotten involved so far to help get the Discovery Zone and all the supplies packed up ready to come here.
I thought about all the things I could write about why this is such a great thing and how much the kids are going to love it – I decided to walk up to the San Mateo this morning and let a few pictures speak on my behalf – they really tell the story.
Side note : While I was taking pictures 2 different guys from the area got to talking to me – both agreed this was a much needed thing and were glad that people are thinking about the neighborhood and the kids.
These shots were taken today may 21, 2008.
Please keep in mind that although rainy season is here, it has not been raining at all when these pictures were taken.