In the days and weeks following the devastation at Sandy Hook, there seemed to be a pervasive feeling of helplessness for so many people we came in contact with. When we thought about the pain—the gaping hole this calamity created in so many lives, we at Phoenix Events were compelled to organize a way in which many small donations could amount to a substantial, practical gift for the people of Newtown, a place of rest and peace in the years ahead. This gift would serve as a tangible and lasting sign that the “helpers” Mr. Rogers talked about years ago are still out there, and in full force today. We came up with the idea of purchasing 26 park benches for the Parks of Newtown—one to honor each victim of the tragedy—and to pay for all engraving, shipping and installation costs for the benches. If we exceeded our financial goal, the extra funds will be contributed to the Newtown Park General Fund for their purposes.
We contacted the Newtown Parks and Recreation Department to see if the town would be open to receiving our gift. They agreed to use our monies raised for this purpose if our friends, families, and customers designated their donations as such when donating to their Newtown Park Fund. After researching the town’s park bench specifications, we contacted the manufacturer and asked for a quote on 26 of them, including plaques, engraving and shipping. The manufacturer graciously offered us a significant discount and agreed to keep the quote open for as long as Newtown needed to put the order in. The Cassidy Bench by Barco Products is the approved standard for Newtown Parks. The negotiated price for the Cassidy Bench, engraved plaque, shipping and installation comes to $1000/bench.
Our 26benches.com website and our 26 Benches Facebook site will have links to the Newtown Parks and Recreation Website. This Newtown Parks and Recreation website has a Paypal Donation Button at the bottom of the site for anyone wanting to donate to the Newtown Park General Fund. Newtown Parks and Recreation personnel emphasized that our donors would need to add a “26benches.com” notation comment during the donation checkout procedure to help them segregate our donations for the 26 Benches cause. This Donation process is initiated by clicking the Paypal Donation Button on their Newtown Parks and Recreation website. Please type in “26benches.com” in the “Add
special instructions to the Sellers” box, if you want your donation to go to our cause. We will get weekly updates from their office as to how our donations are accumulating. In summary, our efforts and contributions are being facilitated through the Newtown Parks & Recreation Park Fund that is administered by the Newtown Parks and Recreation Department.
Our hope is that at least 1,000 people will be willing to donate $26 or more toward this endeavor and designate their donation “26benches.com” inside the “Add special Instructions to the Seller” drop down menu. One hundred percent of all proceeds with the notation “26benches.com” will be donated to the Newtown Park Gift Fund, but segregated for our “26benches.com” cause.
Newtown will need time—perhaps months—to establish where to put the benches, to contact the individual families at the right time and collect specific requests for the engravings, and to plan for the installation according to their workload and schedule. These benches may not be installed until after 2013. But they will be installed. They will stand in remembrance of those lost, and of the compassion and unity connecting these 26 people and their families to everyone around the world who wanted to comfort them in some small way—to the Helpers that are always there.
We would like to raise the $26,000 (or more) by June 1, 2013.
Donors not comfortable with donating on-line can send Donations to:
Newtown Parks and Recreation
Newtown Park Gift Fund/ 26benches.com
Attn: Roseann Reggiano
Three Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470
Please make the notation “26benches.com” in the check memo area. Please email any questions, ideas or other comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 26benches.com Team