Did you know that only one-in-five children lives within walking distance of a park or playground? Following Hurricane Sandy, that number has increased in impacted areas. In the aftermath of natural disasters, play becomes even more critical as it creates a sense of normalcy and provides an emotional outlet for children. In an effort to support children in those areas most impacted, we’ve extended our pledge to rebuild New York with a commitment to allocate support for three playground builds this year in areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Our first post-Hurricane Sandy playground build will take place on May 18 at Magnolia Playground in Long Beach, NY. Two more builds will be announced later this Spring. Long Beach, located in Nassau County, Long Island, experienced significant damage to its shoreline and infrastructure. Magnolia Playground was destroyed nearly six months ago and hundreds of children living in the area have not had a suitable place to play since Hurricane Sandy.
While every KaBOOM! playground build is an inspiring event, the post-Hurricane Sandy playground builds will give volunteers a special chance to reflect on the storm’s impact while renewing their neighborhood. More than 200 volunteers from JetBlue, the City of Long Beach, Surf for All, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the local community will join forces to build a new play space at Magnolia Playground. The new playground’s design is based on drawings created by children who participated in a Design Day event in March.
Magnolia Playground is the 17th playground build by KaBOOM! in partnership with JetBlue. We’ve worked together over the last seven years to create play spaces for children across JetBlue’s communities and help fight the deficit of play for children in undeserved neighborhoods and areas under development following natural disasters. This partnership has successfully engaged more than 3,800 volunteers to move 16 tractor trailers full of mulch, which now benefit more than 10,000 children. JetBlue is a KaBOOM! National Partner, a group of organizations providing long-term guidance and support to KaBOOM! and its mission.
Since Hurricane Sandy, JetBlue has coordinated several efforts to provide assistance to its neighbors and help rebuild communities in New York. Just last month, JetBlue made significant progress in revitalizing Highland Park in Brooklyn. Airline crewmembers and community volunteers planted more than 2,500 trees in an area identified by the New York City Parks Department as a priority location for revitalization efforts. The 100-acre park lost a significant stretch of trees due to Hurricane Sandy. Additionally, in the days following the storm, JetBlue partnered with the NYC Food Truck Association to serve more than 25,000 meals to residents throughout in impacted areas. The airline also donated $820,000 to the American Red Cross on behalf of its customers for relief efforts in the New York area.