ASHFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp has been putting smiles on the faces of seriously ill children for decades, but the future was uncertain after a fire ripped through a key building on site.
Now, they’re putting the pieces back together.
After an uncertain year, families returned to the camp this summer. Come next summer, things will be even better.
A fire that happened in February took away more than 30 years of memories from the camp. Travelers, Travelers Championship, and Newman’s Own Foundation each donated $1 million and more than 4,000 donors also donated.
Flash forward to Wednesday and they’re pleased to break ground on a new creative complex.
“To the firefighters who are here today, and your colleagues, thank you for what you did on February 12, and thank you for what you do every day,” said Alan Schnitzer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Travelers.
The new complex will house arts & crafts, woodshop, and the cooking zone, as well as a new quiet sensory area. The camp’s mission is to give seriously ill children a chance to forget about being sick and just being a kid again.
“We’ve got these incredible blessings of children that come in like that, come in, rock our world, give us perspective, blow our minds with their courage and remind us to live in this moment,” said Jimmy Canton, Chief Executive Officer at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.
The camp benefits children like Dannie Pink who suffers from Sickle Cell Disease.
“Not only was it good for me, but it completely changed my life,” Pink said.
Paul Newman founded the camp in 1988. Newman’s Own Foundation continues to give to a host of other organizations in addition to this camp.
The camp has been a primary beneficiary of the Travelers Championship.