When tragedy strikes — as it did on December 14th when a mentally disturbed Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 first graders and six teachers, staff and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT — our first instinct is to mourn, and our second instinct is to help. But how can we reach out to a community so devastated by the loss of 20 beautiful, bright young spirits? Anything we have to offer feels woefully inadequate for the occasion, but every little bit helps.
Below, please find 13 ways we can support the community and help bereaved families in their time of need.
Provide comfort and Moral Support:
- Send a snowflake: This is a beautiful and creative project parents, teachers, and others can do with the children in their lives to welcome Sandy Hook Elementary School children into their new school, at Chalk Hill Elementary in nearby Monroe, CT. To learn how to make snowflakes, see: Instructables’ How to Make a 6-Pointed Paper Snowflake. Please mail snowflakes by January 12th, 2013 to: The Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT 06514.
- Send a handmade blanket to the local Project Linus chapter: If you enjoy sewing or knitting, you can help comfort Newtown, CT’s children with a warm, cozy blanket. Send blankets to: Project Linus (ATTN: Newtown, CT kids), Holy Name of Jesus Church, Parish Hall 1950 Barnum Ave, Stratford, CT 06497-5397. Or — if you’re not craftsy — you can make a donation through Project Linus’ website.
- Sign Causes.com’s online national sympathy card: They’ve got over 1.5 million signatures and counting. The card says,, “We cannot begin to comprehend the depth of your sadness and grief. Please know that we care deeply for you and we join with you in sharing your sorrow and pain. We only hope that you receive some measure of comfort in the knowledge that we, and an entire nation, stand with you during this extraordinarily difficult time.” Help them reach their goal of 2 million signatures, and show your support: http://www.causes.com/actions/1715318.
Help The Community:
- The United Way’s Sandy Hook School Support Fund: Bereaved families need help with funeral expenses, counseling and other services — including staffing for a 24-hour per day crisis intervention hotline via Danbury Hospital. For more information, visit: https://newtown.uwwesternct.org.
- The Newtown Memorial Fund: Administered by the school’s PTA, the fund will help with counseling and funeral expenses, create a scholarship fund for students, and create a memorial to the victims. So far, they’ve raised over $73,000. For more information or to donate, visit: http://newtownmemorialfund.org.
- Newtown, CT Youth and Family Services: This organization is also working with the United Way to provide in-person emergency counseling and emotional support to bereaved families and community members. For more information or to donate, visit: http://www.newtownyouthandfamilyservices.org/donate.php.
- Volunteer: If you live nearby, call the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection at (800) 203-1234, and find out how you can help (please do not just show up — the community is still shaken and needs some quiet and privacy).
- The Dylan Hockley Memorial Fund: The family of Dylan Hockley, 6, set up this fund to help children with autism and other special needs. For more information, visit their facebook page. To donate via Pay Pal, click here.
- The My Sandy Hook Family Fund: Established by friends and families, this fund helps the Sandy Hook community to provide ongoing support for the 26 families of the children and adults who died in the shootings. For more information, or to donate, visit: https://www.everribbon.com/ribbon/view/10076
- The Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Memorial Fund: Established by the family of Sandy Hook’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who died trying to stop the gunman. Please send checks to: Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Memorial Fund, CT Teachers Credit Union, P.O. Box 2121, Waterbury, CT 06722.
- Friends of the Engel Family Fund: Created by friends and relatives of the Engel family, this fund will honor the memory of Olivia Engel, 6, and provide financial help for her family. For more information, visit their facebook page.
- The Emilie Parker Fund: This fund will help the family of Emilie Parker, 6, with travel and funeral expenses, and enable the parents to take time off from work to be with their two younger children. For more information, visit their facebook page.
- Noah’s Ark of Hope Fund: This fund will help the family of Noah Pozner, 6, provide counseling, education and basic needs for the the shooting victims’ four siblings. For more information, visit their eventbrite page.