If you ask those of us who live in Western Connecticut what we think of when we think of Sandy Hook (a part of Newtown), most of us would tell you this:
It is lovely. Quaint. Pretty. Rather well-off. . . SAFE.
It is the type of community that people who work in the city choose to live in so their children can have happy, safe, bucolic childhoods.
We would also tell you that the landmark by which everyone knows Newtown is the giant flagpole that is right smack in the middle of the town. The busiest intersection weaves around that flagpole. We all know it.
The devastation for the entire nation is unbearable. The dark cloud that hangs over our little community is palpable. These are our friends. Our family. Our children’s friends’ cousins. Our fellow church-goers’ grandchildren. These are the people my husband sees day-after-day, week-after-week for his job. He knows that school. He goes there all the time.
And, so, we’re all left feeling a little helpless.
A few people have asked for ways that they might help, particularly from afar. I’m still keeping my ear to the ground for ways to meet immediate and ongoing needs. I’d especially like to be able to share some smaller, likely church-based funds with you all. I suspect my husband will have some more to share with me– and I will share with you– soon. I’ll update this post as I can.
For now, the two I’d like you to know about are these:
The United Way of Western Connecticut has set up a fund to directly assist those affected by the devastating events in Sandy Hook.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund was started by a former Sandy Hook Elementary student to gather support for the victims, families, and all others affected locally by the tragic shooting on Dec 14th, 2012.
(CNN has published a list here, as well. I culled out the two I thought best fit what people were asking me for, but please check out the others if you’d like.)
Update (12/17/12)– A list of individual requests for where contributions may be made can be found here. This details the requests of specific families of individuals so, if you have a personal connection or know someone who does, this might be more helpful.
Update (12/17/12)– Very, very few of my readers are from Connecticut, but, in case you are, I wanted to pass this on: Holy Trinity Church in Sherman, CT is having a “cookie drive” to gather baked goods for the families impacted by the Sandy Hook tragedy. Christmas will still come. Children are still there. This is one easy “to-do list” thing we can take off their plates for them. Cookies should be dropped off by Thursday, 12/20/12. More info here:
UConn has established a scholarship fund for the Sandy Hook survivors.
The The MOMS club of Newtown is setting out to build The Sandy Hook Memorial Children’s Playground. Donations can be made here.
*I will add as I hear of more collections I believe are trustworthy and worth supporting.
Finally, I want to address a comment I read on one of the “ways to help” articles I read. An individual wrote,
Not to be a jerk, but, other than funeral costs, why do they need money? I mean, a hurricane that wipes out a town, sure. But they’re gone. Why are we giving money?
Now, I’m not saying that person is a jerk. But I do want to gently mention some reasons why these families might need money, beyond funeral costs. Even assuming all repairs, relocations, and what-not are subsidized federally somehow, there will be needs…
- These families, teachers, first responders, and the community at large will need counseling. Likely plenty of it.
- Mothers and fathers will miss work. Some will not be paid for that time. Incomes will suffer.
- Budgets will bend and break as people who typically are very careful simply cannot be. Homemade meals may not get made. Coupons may not get clipped. Grace should be given.
- People will need to travel. Out-of-town family members who never expected to buy last-minute plane tickets for a child’s funeral right before Christmas will toss down the plastic because, really, what do you do?? You pay now, worry later. This is just the scenario where that happens.
- Children will need comfort. The surviving students? Will still have to go to school. They’ll be relocated into unfamiliar places. As a community, we’ll want to do anything and everything we can to provide comfort and security to them.
So… did a tornado physically tear this town apart? No. The trees and buildings still stand.
But the people… oh, the people are broken. And it’s going to take time, prayer, and helping hands to start that healing process.
From our family to yours… I wish you so much peace, love, and joy on this commencement of the third week (the JOY week) of Advent.
I am perpetually blessed by your kindness and support.