In lieu of stuffed animals, better ways to donate in memory of Sandy Hook victims

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A group of mourners look over the array of flowers, stuffed animals, notes and candles that were placed at a makeshift memorial near Sandy Hook School. ( CLOE POISSON/Hartford Courant(

The tens of thousands of toys, stuffed animals and other gifts sent to Newtown from all over the country are heartwarming gestures by good citizens trying to salve the wounds of shattered families and a grieving community.

But there’s a better way to express sorrow for the Dec. 14 killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School: Donate to your local United WayRed Cross, Boys and Girls Club or other reputable charity, in memory of the victims. Families in need can surely use the help.

Christmas in Newtown: Community gets flood of support from nationStuffed animals and toys have arrived in Newtown by the truckload; space ran out at Town Hall, and the gifts now fill two warehouses. Cartons of school supplies have been sent, as well as flowers, fruit baskets, blankets, candles, clothing and more.

The outpouring of love and concern shown by these gifts is gratifying. But town officials say the sheer volume is overwhelming. Through the local newspaper, the Newtown Bee, they have asked well-wishers to stop sending such items but instead distribute them in their own communities “with Newtown’s deepest gratitude and in memory of those we lost on Dec. 14,” Associate Editor John Voket wrote in an open letter.

For those who still want to give, money is best. But beware of scam artists posing as charities. Donations may safely be made to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main St., Newtown CT 06470; online gifts may be made at https://newtown.uwwesternct.org.

Or find your local United Way chapter at http://apps.unitedway.org/myuw/. United Way spreads its resources to agencies that not only help the poor but also focus on how kids can be successful and help the community in other ways. It’s a compassionate way to remember the women and children lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Newtown shooting

Zulma Capestany, of New Britain, cries at the sight of an arrangement of teddy bears at a makeshift memorial at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Cloe Poisson, Hartford Courant / December 15, 2012 )


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