WESTPORT, Conn. (WTNH)– Newman’s Own Foundation has pledged $1 million to the rebuilding of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, following the fire that damaged the camp in Ashford on Feb. 12.
First, investigators told News 8 the fire was likely not started intentionally. They don’t know the cause but continue to look for clues in the charred debris. Meanwhile, we spoke to the CEO who said the camp will open, but it will be a very different experience.
Much of the camp is in ruins, a scene that is tough for CEO Jimmy Canton.
“It was devastating,” he said. “It is a place of incredible of healing and joy. To see it in pain is pretty hard to witness.”
The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 20,000 seriously ill children and their families. The camp was founded actor Paul Newman in 1988.
“All of us at Newman’s Own were devastated by the fire,” said Miriam E. Nelson, president and
CEO of Newman’s Own Foundation. “I have encouraged my colleague and friend, The Hole in
the Wall Gang Camp CEO Jimmy Canton, to rebuild in a manner that not only meets the current
needs of children living with illness and their families, but also helps them pursue their boldest
dreams for the future.”
On Feb. 15, The Travelers Companies, Inc. and the Travelers Championship announced a joint commitment to match up to $1 million in donations to rebuild the camp.
Nelson added, “We were particularly thrilled by the inspiring $1 million match made
by Travelers and the Travelers Championship. The community response to this match is
heartening, and it’s absolutely critical that people continue to donate to help this multi-million
dollar rebuild effort. Hole in the Wall was the first of its kind and we hope that our commitment
above and beyond the match will allow the Camp to continue to be cutting edge in every
imaginable way for the brave campers and families they serve.”
Despite the catastrophic damage, the camp will re-open while rebuilding.
“We will be running programs this summer live programming for families and we will rope off that area – arts and crafts and woodshop and tents around the camp. We are good to go on that,” Canton added.
Canton said they have received $400,000 in donations so far, plus the Travelers and the Travelers Championship will match $1 million that is raised. There is no estimate yet on the damage, but Canton said we’re talking about a multi-million dollar repair and insurance will only cover part of the damage. They hope to rebuild and reopen a new camp in 2022.
If you’d like to support the Travelers challenge, match by making a gift at https://www.holeinthewallgang.org/rebuildcampfund or sending a donation by mail to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, P.O. Box 150448, Hartford, CT, 06115-0448, Memo: Rebuild Camp Fund.