WIZARD OF OZ-PITAL
Date: 10th January, 2013
We always enjoy being able to report on charitable acts of generosity, and with many people bemoaning the high price of new machines, it's good to see one being given away free to a good cause.
When Joe Newhart's son, Taylor, was born in 1994, he spent two weeks under the care of doctors and nurses at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, and had several return visits for surgical procedures in the years since.
Joe is the owner of PinballSTAR Amusements with his own collection of pinball and antique arcade machines at home. He thought is would be a good idea to improve the play facilities the children and their families were able to enjoy at the hospital with the addition of a pinball machine.
PinballSTAR Amusements are distributors for Jersey Jack Pinball, and Joe thought The Wizard of Oz would be an ideal theme for the hospital's play area. So he started a donation fund to buy a The Wizard of Oz machine, taking a percentage from his company's machine sales, as well as tournament entry fees from The Wizard of Oz competitions he ran at pinball shows he attended and sales of T-shirts and posters.
To help the project along, Jersey Jack Pinball donated tournament prizes and made a machine available at a special discounted price.
At the start of last month Joe was able to announce the funding goal had been reached and the pinball machine would be donated to the children's hospital in time for Christmas.
At a ceremony on 17th December, 2013, Joe was joined by local pinball enthusiasts, tournament organisers and collectors to see the donated The Wizard of Oz set up in the play area and enjoyed by the hospital's patients.
Following the machine's installation at St. Christopher's, the manager of the Child Life Department, Ben Broxterman said, "Kids are just attracted to it when they walk in... every time the room is open, someone is playing. We even get a lot of kids playing with and against each other. It truly has been great to watch the kids interact around the machine. Some of the kids who have played it before have been giving newer players pointers and helping them learn to play. The machine really is encouraging kids to engage with each other on a different level. The machine is a huge hit!"
But Joe isn't finished after the donation of one machine, as he plans to donate several more The Wizard of Oz machines to children's hospitals. He will continue with his fundraising from machine sales and tournament proceeds, and would welcome any donations which can be pledged through PayPal to Joe@PinballSTAR.com.
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