Thursday morning, Peter and Melissa Picknelly, along with representatives from Penn National Gaming visited Square One's King Street school to make a $25,000 donation to the school to help them recover from the recent gas explosion that wiped out the Chestnut Street school nearly two weeks ago.
The money will also help Square One and its recovery efforts from last year's June 1 tornado, which rendered its Main Street day care center unusable.
"You just need people to reach out and put a big hug around you to get you back on your feet, and point you in the direction that you need to go. Everyone needs help, and with everyone helping us, we're going to come out way ahead," said Tommie Johnson, director of Square One's King Street center.
To get into the holiday spirit of giving, Thursday's donation was specially delivered to the center by Santa Claus, who rode in on a red Peter Pan bus in order to spread some holiday cheer to the kids, as well.
"We wanted to reach out as quickly as we could to offer and pledge our support so that they could get moving as quickly as possible. They do such a worthwhile and wonderful thing for these kids in need, so that's really the reflection then of our desire to help out," said Eric Schippers Sr., vice president of public affairs for Penn National Gaming.
Square One's mission is to provide quality education and care to children, and to give training to Springfield parents.
Part of this donation will go towards giving the kids, displaced during the gas explosion, tools necessary for them to continue to get a quality education through Square One's resources.
"We had to replace 100 children, find placements for them, and that included having all of the necessary supplies that go with them, different materials, curriculums, making sure that we had the right amount of furniture and making sure we had all the things we need to provide early education and childcare services to them," said Joan Kagan, CEO and president of Square One.
The majority of students displaced from the Chestnut Street day care are now at Square One's King Street center.
School officials told CBS 3 that the kids are handling the adjustments well.
"That was the key, getting them quickly from the Chestnut Street center, back into a familiar, consistent routine ... with some of the familiar faces ... some of the Chestnut Street staff are here ... they're in our quality classrooms that have been around for awhile ... they're being assimilated into our classrooms, and they're doing well," Johnson said.
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