STRATFORD -- A Stratford community group is rallying residents together to get an aging playground at a local school replaced.

Simple Dreams has started a two dollar give away initiative to upgrade the playground at Hamlet Public School.

“The playground equipment isn’t just for Hamlet School, it’s for people in the community,” said group president Richard Kneider. “With what we’re going through right now, it’s essential.”

The existing structure is 20 years old and needs to be updated to be made wheelchair accessible as well as fit the needs of younger children.

The fundraising efforts began in 2017 with a goal of $65,000.

The school’s principal Amy Crummer says that, although they have seen steady support since then, connecting with Simple Dreams has sparked an even greater sense of giving.

“The connection with Simple Dreams only started a month ago, so when they came to us, he said in a month I think I can make momentum,” she said.

As of April, the fundraiser has reached $40,000.

While fundraising efforts have changed due to COVID-19, both Kneider and Crummer say they’ve been overwhelmed by community support and are inspired by how creative people have gotten.

“Students are asking if it’s okay that I’m create and safely selling books,” said Crummer. “We had a family do that and they just recently raised over $120.”

One local grocery store has added a tap to donate option, while a local restaurant is offering curbside pickup with a donation jar at the door.

Kneider says his 90-year-old neighbor has dropped off contactless donations at his door.

“She gave me this envelope that says ‘to Simple Dreams: a few toonies for the school,’” he said.

Crummer says they hope to have shovels in the ground for the project this summer.