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We are a group of Pepperell residents who have been plugging away for more than three years on small fundraising efforts to contribute to the beautification of Pepperell’s town field with several new play structures. This would be phase I. Future phases include a paved walking track, modeled after Dunstable’s Larter Field; attention to the town’s tennis courts — the list goes on.

What do we do? We have been striving to raise funds through fun, useful and unique means: Halloween Costume Sale, Used Bike Sale, Town Wide Yard Sale, Middle School Game Day, Holiday House Tour, Pepperellopoly and are in the initial planning stages for a fun run later 2010.

Our Halloween Costume Sale has been well received for three years. Though this year it was held only at the library, we are planning on a kickoff costume sale October 2010. Our collaboration with the library to continue selling costumes through the month of October has benefited the library with a 50-50 split of proceeds. Look for this sale again in October 2010. If you have costumes you are looking to move along, we are happy to collect them for the 2010 sale.

The Bike Sale has been a phenomenal success. For months leading up to the April sale, we publicize in area papers, schools, the library, cable stations, Internet and word of mouth. We have collected an average of 200 bikes each year, and since becoming nonprofit, we are able to give tax receipts for donations. People from Pepperell and surrounding towns are at the town field before the sale begins waiting for the bargains on bikes. The Police Department has worked with us generously giving away bike helmets, fitting children for them and going over bike safety. We have also been fortunate to keep the donations moving forward by donating the unsold bikes to Worcester’s Earn-A-Bike Program (http://www.worcesterearnabike.org/).

Our newest event has been the Town-Wide Yard Sale. This was our second year and we have been learning as we go. Our first year had over 50 yard sales registered and mapped. TWYS 2009 had nearly 100 yard sales mapped. Improvements are coming with each year. For the TWYS 2010, look for additional signage posted around town, more publicity in area papers, and yard stakes. The improvements are a result of feedback from yard sales and other townwide yard sale organizers. It is our hope to grow this fun-filled day each year, bringing hustle and fun energy to the town. It is inevitable that not only does this event help raise funds for the Friends of Pepperell, help residents clean our their sheds, garages and basements, allows bargains to be found all over town, but it also brings business to local businesses as people stop in for a bottle of water, a slice of pizza, some rope to tie down their newly purchased treasures, or a cup of coffee to keep them running from sale to sale.

Our plans for additional play structures on town field is going to be a reality this year. We expect to purchase two-five new, unique play pieces that will allow the greatest number of children to play at one time. Ideas include a triple bank of see-saws, a six-10 person carousel spinner, a multiple slide structure amongst other ideas. In addition to the new play pieces, we are considering a spruce-up of the existing pieces.

Last year’s sales of “Pepperellopoly” was hugely popular. If you have not picked up your copy of the game, a few are still available by stopping in at the Covered Bridge Gift Shop or by calling Sue Boswell at 978-835-0133.

How can you help us? We would love to have more people participating in the process. We meet at least once/month. (children in tow is fine). We are currently talking with playground representatives to purchase pieces, and are planning a community build in the spring. If you have an hour to give, we are happy to accept that hour. Every pair of hands will bring this long-term goal into a reality.

If you have a knack for writing grants, we would gladly accept your help in grant writing for additional funds. If writing is not your thing, do you love to garden or landscape? We will be asking area landscapers and garden clubs, along with those greenthumbs in town, to help us with the beautification of the play area and blending it onto town field. If you are holding out for a non-playground project, please be in touch for our next endeavor after the playground.

We are here to stay. Our goal is to support the existing recreational facilities as well as to enhance them through new events and unique fundraising.

Our monthly meetings are open to anyone interested in finding out more, to anyone who would like to make a request for something they wish the town could offer or to join the new and energetic group of residents who have formed this exciting new organization.

We hope to unite people of all ages and facilitate other groups in town working together — for instance we donated leftover ride on toys to the library toy sale, and remaining costumes were sold at the library following our sale, splitting the proceeds with the Friends of the Library.

A board has been established with a regular group of attendees and a Web page is under construction: http://www.friendsofpepperell.org/. “There is also a list that is ever growing longer o f “wishes” brought to us by residents.

People can also participate as a Friend of Pepperell Recreation through becoming a donating member. Membership forms can be picked up in the Community Center, or they can be e-mailed or downloaded from our Web site.

Now that we are an established nonprofit group, we are looking to expand our membership and make a lasting impression in town. From there, our objectives will include the playing structures, a paved walking track, tennis-court improvements and the continued beautification of town field.

Please call or e-mail any questions to Sue Boswell, friends_of_pepperell@yahoo.com or 978-835-0133.