(WYTV) – The fundraising for Rowan Sweeney’s Memorial Park is moving right along but still has a long way to go.
Rowan is the 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed in Struthers last year in September.
To get even closer to their fundraising goal to build the park, on Saturday, his family hosted “Eating with the Easter Bunny.”
Families had breakfast or lunch, got pictures taken with the Easter Bunny and participated in an Easter egg hunt, all socially distanced.
“I’m so delighted just to see these kids. They’re coming, they’re having a great time, and to know that they’re having this great time through remembrance of Rowan, I don’t know, it’s really special,” said David Sweeney, Rowan’s dad.
There were raffles and a drawing to win a swing set for your own backyard.
All money raised will go toward their $500,000 goal to put the park up in Rowan’s name.
For his dad, the support from the community has meant the world.
“The fact that people care, like Leah, she donated this place for us to have this event. I can’t thank her enough. Like I said, it’s all I have and it means the world to me, and God, I can only imagine the smile on his face from seeing what we’re doing and hearing us talk about the park and what we’re gonna put in it,” said David.
The event was from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Stone Quarry Banquet Center in Edinburg, Pennsylvania, just over the state line.
Attendee Jakki Gardner says she was excited to help the cause but also to give her daughter Jewel her first chance to see the Easter bunny.
“She definitely went right up to the Easter bunny. I thought she might cry, but she gave him kisses so she was really excited to be here and she’s just very social,” Gardner said.
In addition to buying tickets to enter and for the raffle, people could also make donations.
Even the photo services were a donation.
Mineral Ridge photographer Amanda Hamm, of Dyngle Hopper Photography, decided to spend her time taking the bunny photos for free Saturday.
She’ll also be donating half the proceeds from additional photo sessions to Rowan’s park.
Hamm says it makes her both happy and sad.
“I hate that we have to do it, but I’m happy to be able to provide this for them and be able to, like I said, lend my services and the talents that I’ve got toward this and be able to give back,” Hamm said.
David says he’s happy to bring Easter activities that Rowan loved to other children.
“The candy, oh, he loved the candy. Hunting for eggs, that’s classic,” David said. “Rowan loved that. These are all events that Rowan loved.”
Another fundraiser is planned for May. Keep an eye out on the website for more information.