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Square One Receives Donation From Penn National Gaming and Picknelly’s

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Square One gets an unexpected lifeline after losing one of their buildings in the recent downtown explosion.

The early child education organization was presented with a check for $25,000 from Penn National Gaming and The Peter and Melissa Picknelly Charitable Fund. Peter Picknelly is the CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines and the local development partner with Penn National for a proposed casino in Springfield.

“These kids are our future leaders,” said Picknelly. “And this is where they get their first start.”

Square One was told about the donation last week and that it came with a challenge to others to donate the same.

“We did start dialing right away and within two days, two works days, we were able to find the match,” said Joan Kagan, President and CEO of Square One.

When the tornado tore apart the organization’s South End location on Main Street, Kagan said they at least had enough reserves to transition the students to new locations and they had materials in storage. This time, they had neither.

“The explosion really sort of knocked us off our feet and displaced a hundred children,” said Kagan. “Fortunately, we’ve been able to find a place and have a plan for every child.”

“But along with that, it takes resources, though,” she said. “This money will help us address that lack of resources that are needed.”

Kagan said the money will help pay for transportation for the hundred displaced kids to their new sites and for their learning materials.

Square One rented the building on Chestnut Street. They’ve started talks with their insurance company and Columbia Gas about compensation for everything lost inside.

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