How to Help Sandy Hook (Newtown)

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:

Cookies Because We Care

 

Updated 12/18/12: 

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.

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42 comments to How to Help Sandy Hook (Newtown)

  • Thanks for the suggestions. Living hundreds of miles away the feeling of needing and wanting to do something is overwhelming, but we had no idea what to do. Thank you. I ache for this community, the parents, grandparents, everyone involved.

  • Love you, friend. So glad that God planted you there. You are a calm, clear voice amid a lot of noise. Thank you.

  • I found your post from Jessica’s Facebook share.

    I love what you wrote about why financial help will be needed – indeed!

    Sending love and strength to the people of Newton and those poor families. <3

  • Thank you for the very wise and honest words about the needs of a community torn apart. My prayers are with the community of people who are hurt and broken by this tragedy.

  • Stacy

    I am also here from Jessica’s page. I live in NC. This morning at church, we all cried as the youth choir sang:

    Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
    Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
    Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
    And fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there.

    Our church is sending a collection directly to the UMC in Newtown. I hope that everyone in your area knows that the whole country is broken-hearted for your loss.

  • It’s been heartbreaking for me to see a friend who recently lost her 11-month-old son in a terrible accident to say she can’t get grief counseling because her insurance won’t cover it. Thank you for the reminder and I hope lots of funds flow in.

    Thinking about you constantly. :(

    Jessie

    • Lisa

      Jessie, if your friend is in Nashville, have her call the YMCA and find out about Restore Ministries. They do counseling and group classes and have a sliding scale/financial assistance.

  • I didn’t think I “knew” anyone in Conn., much less actually living close to Newtown. I am hundreds of miles away and yet this tragic and unbelievable event hit us hard even so far away. Actually being there, possibly knowing someone directly affected, knowing it was in a town you know….I can’t even begin to imagine how much more deeply affected you must be. Yet your words are honest, helpful, and clear. There is no hate expressed, no anger spiking out of control, no placing of blame, no ranting against how this could have, should have, would have been different if only…. Just sorrow, loss, and a point that needed to be made.

    This is one of the best post responses to yesterday’s events that I have seen. You did a great job yet again, my friend!

    May you and your town find the comfort and solace you need to get through these days!

    Mellodee

  • Amy

    Thank you so much for providing thoughtful ways that we can help in what feels like a helpless situation. My heart aches for these families and I cannot imagine any of this. Please know these families are in our prayers and we will do what we can to help financially. Sending lots of love to you- xoxo

  • Thank you for sharing this information – I will be passing it along….

  • [...] How to Help Sandy Hook (Newtown) at Parenting Miracles [...]

  • You should post the why send money reasons on FB too. EVERY article I’ve read or news broadcast emphasizes the wonderfulness of this community (i.e. affluent), so it doesn’t seem like they’d have a bunch of financial need. But our life insurance guy said one of the man reasons to have a decent sum of life insurance on a small child is to pay your bills and order pizza for however many months it takes you to function again after your child dies and to pay for any grief counseling you need. Because of course I thought what money do we need beyond funeral costs? But of course i’d want my husband to stay home longer than his accrued leave time.

    Also what about the school? They can’t be holding school in that building if it’s all shot up and crime scene and the place of extreme emotional upheaval for little kids….so where do they go? I suspect you don’t have a bunch of empty schools waiting to be moved into?

    • I’ll see about fitting them on FB too, Heather– that’s a good idea.

      Blessedly, there is an empty school building (that happens to have very good security) in the next town over that will be used for these children and their teachers. I am so grateful that they won’t all be split up.

  • mlearley

    Thank you for posting this article. I didn’t understand the need for financial giving either but you clarified it so well. Our family has been praying for your community and all those involved. Our hearts are aching along with yours even though we are miles away. May God granted you peace and comfort in the days to come.

  • There’s so much that I hadn’t even considered. What a blessing that there’s an empty school and people who can help.

  • [...] in real life a couple of months ago, emailed me yesterday and said: Just wanted to pass along the link to a post I wrote on some of the hows and whys to help those impacted by the devastation in Newtown, CT that occurred [...]

  • Heather

    But will someone be taking their ‘cut’ from these ‘victims’ funds? Look at the fiasco the collection for the Aurora CO victims was…

    • I’m doing my very best to find the most trust-worthy funds I can, Heather. I actually did not mention several that I feared weren’t totally on the up-and-up. We all need to go with our guts on this, for sure. I would never recommend to giving to a cause you didn’t feel you could trust. It’s an important thing to consider.

  • Thank you so much for this. Just last night my husband was saying that we need to do something to help the people in Newtown, and God heard him and led us to your post. I plan to share this on my blog as well.

  • KristyH

    My prayers go out to everyone in this town. Just another idea of how to use some money is to have some of the photos the families have of their loved ones framed really nice. When my mother died I realized how precious those photos are. Just a thought. Thank you for this post.

  • [...] in real life a couple of months ago, emailed me yesterday and said: Just wanted to pass along the link to a post I wrote on some of the hows and whys to help those impacted by the devastation in Newtown, CT that occurred [...]

  • [...] I was glad to find a link to this post today over at Money Saving Mom, mentioning what people like me can do to help in this time of great [...]

  • Jennifer M

    My daughter & I would like to make sympathy cards & drawings for the families. I’d like to get other people involved with this too. Anyone know where I could send these to?

    • I’ll see if I hear of a specific place, Jennifer. I do know that many of the families (at least eight of the fallen children) attend St. Rose of Lima church, 46 Church Hill Road Newtown, Connecticut 06470. Perhaps some cards could be sent there? I’m quite certain they’d be able to pass them on to those in need. Thank you for asking and for such a thoughtful gesture!

      • Lisa

        I saw on the news here in WI tonight that the post office has set up a PO box just for this type of mail to be directed. I think it was PO BOX 3700, Newtown. I would google it to be sure but there is an actual funnel for everyone wanting to send something.
        Thanks for your site, found it from MSM.

  • Charity

    I am here via Money Saving Mom…Thank YOU so much for your insight and help into this area. We live way out West in CA and I can’t say that I honestly know a single person who lives in Connecticut, but now my heart breaks for people who I know I’ll probably never see before Heaven. Thank you for the thoughtful ways to aid in this horrific event. If you know of a church/organization where cards/thoughts can be sent please share as well:)
    Thank you!

    • Thanks for asking, Charity! I’ll definitely update if I hear of a specific place they’d like cards sent. I can say that I know at least eight of the fallen children were parishioners of St. Rose of Lima church in Newtown. This is the address: 46 Church Hill Road Newtown, Connecticut 06470 I’m sure they’d be happy to pass on cards/well wishes to those in need.

  • Thanks so much for this. I’ve just written my check to mail to the fund based at the Newtown Bank. My sister died when I was younger, and I remember how difficult it was for my parents to pay for her funeral expenses – they couldn’t afford the headstone, but a relative stepped in and took care of it. I can’t send much, but I hope that it will help with the unexpected expenses so many of these families now face.

  • elaine

    We need to see to it that these lives were not given in vain; from this experience we need to take action to be sure it is not repeated by calling our senators and representatives to urge them to take action against ownership of semi automatic or automatic weapons by civilians. We need to start to change our culture of entertainment laced with violence. We need to stop our children from purchasing video games where they shoot dogs, people or any other living thing. We need to put in a great deal of time toward these goals.

  • Melissa

    My heart broke when I heard the news of Friday’s horrific event. I sobbed for hours thinking of the little angels that lost their lives and what their family must be going through and will have to go through in the months, years ahead. I absolutely love that you took the time to educate those “jerks” about what a tragedy like this can do in a community, school and home. I will mail my check and send all the love and prayers along with it. God Bless Sandy Hook.

  • margaret maggert

    We were heartbroken when we heard the news, we have a grandson in K-garden in Boston and just knew that if it were him we would be devastated I live to far away to help other than money but you dont realize how many expenses there are with losing a child, you dont function for months people lose their jobs because of it.It is diffrent than losing an adult..all the hopes and dreams for the future are gone and your sweet little one will never hug you again, and then you have to wonder why and why now… so they have so many things to deal with that we must suport them as much as god will gift us with not because we have to but because you have to feel the grief and pain and because you can still kiss your child goodnight and feel the hugs and kisses..and they need help to heal and get thru this and help costs money…god bless everyone who gives of themselfs and money and more than anything prayers god knows what they need…hug your babies while you can…

  • LiAnne

    Concerning how to help on a spiritual level (extremely important response as well), check out
    It presents a powerful initiative to join together in the transforming power of love as a first response…

  • LiAnne

    oops. The website I cited above didn’t come through right. It’s putlovefirst.org

  • [...] HERE is also a great article about other ways you can help. [...]

  • Hey! Thanks for the awesome info. One correction though – the playground is being sponsored by “The MOMS Club” (with support from their international organization), NOT _MOPS_. I’m sure it’s still a trustworthy organization (and I think they have similar goals, although I believe that MOMS is _not_ faith-based), but thought you’d want to cite the correct one to prevent confusion!

    Thanks for explaining the need! Poverty takes on so many, many forms. Economic poverty is only one of them. Emotional poverty is very real and needs desperately to be addressed…but it often costs money that people weren’t expecting to need to pay!

  • [...] here.You can find a list of giving opportunities for Sandy Hook on CNN and ABC.com .(Thanks Parenting Miracles, Hip 2 Save and Happy Money Saver!)Be Sociable, Share!TweetTweet!function(d,s,id){var [...]

  • [...] How to Help Sandy Hook ~ My friend JessieLeigh lives a mere 20 minutes from Newtown.  She’s in the trenches right now, and has gathered a strong list of the hows and whys to support this broken community. [...]

  • Debbie Winkler

    I read the question why do these people need money, like a hurricane these people have to repair all of their children, which could be as extensive as therapy, psychiatrists, and maybe medication. PTSD is a very serious problem and I know how traumatic it can be to deal with kids with this disorder. It has tried to tear our family apart but we refuse to let it. We drive the 600 miles we have to so we can help our kids. My prayers are with the entire community, I know you have a long way to go and Heavenly Father will help you get there.

  • [...] How to Help Sandy Hook (Newtown) :: JessieLeigh lives nearby and offers some very practical tips – from scholarships to cookies – for offering help. [...]

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