BUTLER – Since last December, Clear Fork Christian Preschool & Learning Center has been raising funds for a new playground. With over 90 children using their equipment daily, their current wooden play structure has worn out and needs to be replaced by next year for safety.
As donations trickled off in the fall, school staff began to feel discouraged, wondering if their goal to build the playground next spring would be possible after all—that is, until this week, when Moriah Daugherty, the school’s director, found an anonymous donation in the mail.
“I had just gone down to pick up the mail to see if there was anything, and that was the only card in our mail slot,” Daugherty said. “I got in my car and opened it. I thought, aw, cute, a Christmas card. Then I saw that check and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, this gets us to our goal.’”
The $3,000 check addressed to the preschool was completely anonymous, On the memo line, the sender simply wrote “Santa.”
Daugherty texted all of her teachers right away to share the exciting news.
“I had one teacher message me back and say, ‘I have at least one student every day asking me when we're getting our new play gym,’” she said. “We had a little poster up in our hallway of our goal for the playground, so the kids would see it as they would pass it.”
But since COVID-19 hit early this year, the school could no longer hold fundraisers. A couple of months ago, they created a GoFundMe page to raise funds remotely. A few donations came in, including one for $2,500 from Alumni Roofing Company.
“That was incredible,” Daugherty said. “We were off to a great start–halfway there because we needed to raise about $6,000—but after that one, (donations) kind of went off a little bit.”
Receiving the rest of the funds has been a big morale boost for the school’s teachers. Daugherty said they are looking forward to telling their students the news once school resumes after the holidays.
The new playground will be a vinyl lumber structure with a 20-year warranty from an Amish-based company in Pennsylvania. Daugherty was given a church discount because her preschool is part of Three Crosses: A United Methodist Fellowship.
“Our goal (is) to get it by next spring … That way, these kids could use it a little bit before they move on,” Daugherty said.
The school wrote this message on social media earlier this week: “We are overwhelmed with gratitude for our community today. In a time when times are so tough for so many, we weren't really sure this was going to be possible this year....but God is so good and so faithful! To whoever this Santa may be... you have just helped us reach our goal for our new playground. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!”