Ashby School Bleacher Work on a Roll with $1,000 Bowling Alley Gift
ASHBY -- A $1,000 grant from Fitchburg’s Putnam Street Lanes has put Ashby Elementary School closer to raising enough money to replace its gymnasium bleachers.
“It was incredible,” Principal Anne Cromwell-Gapp said of learning about the donation. “I was in tears and I wasn’t expecting that call.”
Gary Therrien, owner of the candlepin bowling center, called her about two weeks ago to let her know the news. On Friday, he came to the school to present the check to Cromwell-Gapp.
“It’s something I can do to give back to the community,” Therrien said. “You know that when you give to the school many people will benefit.”
Ashby Elementary’s bleacher project has been going on for about a year and a half, Cromwell-Gapp said.
The school has a $50,000 goal and has collected money through fundraising and support from local groups, she said. So far, Ashby Elementary has raised about $14,000.
Cromwell-Gapp said students know about the bleacher project and have been able to track the fundraising progress on a thermometer displayed at the school.
The bleachers are from the 1950s and are inside the school’s gym that are often used for school, community, and town functions, she said.
Ashby Elementary is one of 19,000 schools that were nominated for the Bowling to Schools grant program, which gives $50,000 total to elementary and middle schools around the country and Canada, according to Bowling Business Builders International, the organization that offers the grant program.
Therrien nominated multiple schools in the region, including those in Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, Ashby, and Ashburnham for the grant. He has been doing it for at least eight years.
Bowling centers like Putnam Street Lanes that participate in the Kids Bowl Free summer program are able to nominate schools for the grant.
The candlepin center is one of about 20 bowling alleys across the state that offer the summer bowling program. Through it, children can receive two free games all summer.
The Kids Bowl Free program has given more than 25 million in the U.S. and Canada a safe recreation activity, according to BBBI.
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