December 22, 2012

Nation's post-shooting generosity 'proof of the love in this country'

Newtown is overwhelmed by the generosity of a nation intent on helping the community recover.

The Associated Press

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A message of support hangs over a table of donated toys Friday at the town hall in Newtown, Conn. People are being encouraged to give to other causes in the shooting victims’ memory.

The Associated Press

Robbie Parker
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Robbie Parker, left, carries his daughter Madeline, 4, after the funeral Saturday at a Mormon church in Ogden, Utah, for his 6-year-old daughter, Emilie, a victim of the Newtown, Conn., shooting. The Parker family has roots in Ogden.

The Associated Press

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Mahoney said the town of some 27,000 with a median household income of more than $111,000 plans to donate whatever is left over to shelters or other charities.

Sean Gillespie of Colchester, who attended Sandy Hook Elementary, and Lauren Minor, who works at U.S. Foodservice in Norwich, came from Calvary Chapel in Uncasville with a car filled with food donated by U.S. Foodservice. But they were sent elsewhere because the refrigerators in Newtown were overflowing with donations.

"We'll find someplace," Gillespie said. "It won't go to waste."

In addition to the town's official fund, private funds have been set up. Former Sandy Hook student Ryan Kraft, who once babysat Lanza, set up a fund with other alumni that has collected almost $150,000. It is earmarked for the Sandy Hook PTA.

Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel is raising money for a memorial to the victims. He said one man wrote a $52,000 check for that project.

Several colleges, including the University of Connecticut, have set up scholarship funds to pay for the educations of students at Sandy Hook and the relatives of the victims.

MONEY TO BE SPENT APPROPRIATELY

Town officials have not decided yet what to do with all the money. A board of Newtown community leaders is being established to determine how it is most needed and will be best utilized, said Isabel Almeida with the local United Way, which has waived all its administrative fees related to the fund.

She said some have wondered about building a new school for Sandy Hook students if the town decides to raze the school, but that decision hasn't been made.

And while the town is grateful for all the support, Almeida said, it has no more room for those gifts. Instead, she encouraged people to give to others in memory of the Sandy Hook victims.

"Send those teddy bears to a school in your community or an organization that serves low-income children, who are in need this holiday season, and do it in memory of our children," she said.

 

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