Chris Penza

On October 1st, 2022, at the Sunderland Library, money for the non-profit organization, Friends of the Sunderland Public Library (FSPL) was raised. The FSPL organized the event known as the “Puzzle Walk” to support the library that supports so much of its community.

People went to the Sunderland Public Library and could participate for free. Upon arriving, there was a bubble machine outside the doors so efficient that “People inside thought it was snowing.” You’d then be greeted by the famous Puzzle Man, identifiable by his signature green and red hat, cane, and puzzle-infused clothing. When you finally went through the door inside, you were greeted by the faces of the community and volunteers. For example multiple staff members of the Sunderland Elementary School and members of the Sunderland Fire Department. The Fire Department educated kids on fire safety while giving little fire hats to any kid who wanted them. There were raffles in which you could try to win gift cards to local restaurants and businesses while interacting with community members. Alongside this, if you stepped in further the scent of baked goods filled the air, it’s the bake sale containing many homemade treats made by the community.

The event itself was a walk along Riverside Park where volunteers would ask any kid, teen, or adult, coming up to them a trivia question about the Library. Regardless of the answer’s correctness, you’d then receive a sticker to put on your sheet. After finding and answering all ten trivia questions, you’d have to go to the Library’s community room and get a puzzle piece to fit into one of many puzzles that would be completed by the community.

The planners of the event also made sure to have it at a time when soccer was being played on the fields so all the players and parents would stop by too. Many of them did, and the kids when they were done could go over to watch the games. On the fresh and cool fall morning, kids and their parents were eating baked goods on the side of the games while wearing their fire hats.

How did the volunteers feel about the Puzzle Walk? One said “My favorite part about volunteering for this event was meeting and seeing so many members of the community. It was especially fun to see how excited the kids were.” Another just called it a “massive success.”