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Donation brings tears to Alex Hope parents’ eyes

Alex Hope Elementary PAC president Karen Moore and her sons Tanner, 12, Michael, 9, and Ryan, 7, stand where the school’s playground once was.  Thanks to the generosity of several community businesses and a service club, a new playground is on the way. - Monique TAMMINGA
Alex Hope Elementary PAC president Karen Moore and her sons Tanner, 12, Michael, 9, and Ryan, 7, stand where the school’s playground once was. Thanks to the generosity of several community businesses and a service club, a new playground is on the way.
— image credit: Monique TAMMINGA

How long do you think it would take you to raise $100,000?

Less than five months? That’s the time it took for the Alex Hope Elementary Parent Advisory Committee to raise nearly $100,000 to purchase a playground for the populated Walnut Grove school.

It all started in September when the PAC asked maintenance to fix a lifted board on the swing bridge portion of the playground. That inspection led to the 20-year-old structure being condemned.

The 500-plus students were left with a set of swings, monkey bars and a small playground to the side of the school (it, too, needs replacing.) The kids adapted by playing hide-and-go-seek and tag, but behind the scenes, parents got to work, holding raffles, bake and craft sales and giveaways while also going to bat for their school at Township council meetings. The structure is actually on Township land, inside the grounds of “Alex Hope Park.” Langley Township originally offered $5,000 towards its replacement.

(School districts do not pay for playgrounds. It is up to each PAC to pay for playgrounds).

Playgrounds cost around $80,000 to buy and thousands more dollars to install.

Super Save Group has donated $10,000 and and the Great Canadian Dollar Store donated $1,300.

But then, a Christmas gift came their way from Langley family-owned Online Collision. The local business donated $30,000.

At the same time, Township came through with a $25,000 one-time grant. The Fort Langley Lions are also helping out.

“Online Collision, (owned by the Kruger family) decided to start this Playground Initiative, and decided to start with us. It came in just the Friday before Christmas, and we got to announce it to the kids that afternoon. You could hear the kids cheering from their classrooms,” said Alex Hope PAC president Karen Moore.

“For those of us that have been working so hard on it this year, hearing the cheers from the classrooms brought tears to our eyes,” said Moore. “It is a reality now that we will have that playground by this spring.”

But they are a few thousand dollars off their mark.

They are hosting another fundraiser, a poker night for adults, on Jan. 26 at West Langley Hall. The Lions will be providing the food at the tournament.

Tickets can be purchased through the school at 604-888-7109.

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