In the months to come, a playground will be built in memory of Jesse Lewis at Stamford's West Beach. The community's now coming together to make sure this build and others are possible.
Coin by coin, Stamford's 20 public schools are collecting "pennies for playgrounds" to support the Sandy Ground project.
"Kids and teachers can donate whatever they want. Pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters. If anyone wants to throw a couple of dollars in there, they're free to do that as well," said Gina Aiello, the chairperson of the Stamford Sandy Ground build.
The Where Angels Play Foundation is building 26 playgrounds to honor each life lost in the Sandy Hook school shooting. They're installed in areas hit hard by Superstorm Sandy to bring healing and hope to communities.
"What I love most about this project is a lot of really special stories that really lead us to believe that these kids and teachers are leading this project," said Aiello. "And I wish everyone could hear all the back stories and all the little miracles that have happened along the way."
"I think it's an honor that Stamford and West Beach is going to have an opportunity both to enjoy a playground, but also to have the children in Stamford remember," said Dr. Winnie Hamilton, superintendent of Stamford public schools.
And the idea: that each penny, pays it forward.
"Where Angels Play Foundation gifts a playground to Stamford," said Aiello.
"Now it's Stamford's turn to help pay for the next playground," said Hamilton.
Each school is encouraging people to make donations now through March 24.
Other local businesses involved with the fundraiser:
Hope Street Pizza, 230 Hope St., Stamford. (203) 325-0660
Elements Yoga and Wellness Center, 354 Heights Rd., Darien. (203) 655-9642
In total, 16 playgrounds have been built in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Visit www.whereangelsplayfoundation.org for more.