hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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March 13, 2014

Trending toward a new playground

Pattern emerges of local businesses helping schools

It’s a partnership where everyone wins.

A local pizza shop’s willingness to donate part of its sales profits to help build a new playground at Pentucket Lake School is the latest in a local trend of businesses supporting schools and other local causes.

Restaurants such as Uno’s Pizza have done it, and so has Papa Gino’s. Now other businesses are getting involved as parents reach out to them.

“We put together a letter campaign two months ago and reached out to over 110 businesses in the area, along with politicians and others,” said parent Jillregin Mencis.

She and parent Lisa Brady formed a fundraising committee called Team Play Strong.

“At Pentucket Lake, the motto is ‘Read strong, learn strong, be strong,’ “ Mencis said.

Several business responded to the letter campaign, including Romano’s pizza shop on Primrose Street.

On the night of Feb. 25, the kitchen at Romano’s was hopping. The shop offered the school 20 percent of all sales made that day.

“The response was overwhelming,” said co-owner Bobby Greatorex. “We are so happy to support Pentucket Lake School and the children of Haverhill.”

Greatorex said he and his staff are looking forward to holding their next day-long event on March 25 to raise money for the playground.

Pentucket Lake School is in desperate need of a new playground set.

Parents said more than 500 students do not have access to safe playground equipment. In fact, the current structure is off limits to kids due to the danger it poses, parents said.

Mencis said a new play set will cost $50,000. The school received $25,000 from the state’s Office of Travel and Tourism, but the clock is ticking. The school must take advantage of the state money by June or lose it, which means the school must raise another $25,000 by then.

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