I grew up in New Milford, Connecticut, a town over from Newtown. On Friday morning, my Facebook feed exploded–well before the news of what was happening at Sandy Hook Elementary was actually on the news. All the surrounding towns’ schools were on lockdown, not just the schools in Newtown. No one knew what the hell was happening, but every two minutes it seemed like a worse piece of information was coming through.
By the afternoon, victims’ names were beginning to be released. The entire situation became, if possible, more heart-wrenching, as I saw how many members of my small hometown community had been directly affected.
One friend had worked with teacher Lauren Rousseau. Several friends knew and worked with principal Dawn Hochsprung, who had previously taught in the New Milford School District. A friend of a friend had been Adam Lanza’s tutor.
And. And, God help us. And a guy who went to my high school, Brian Engel, lost his six-year-old daughter Olivia.
This morning there was a false alarm, and schools in nearby Ridgefield and Reading, Connecticut were put on lockdown. A friend’s husband teaches in Ridgefield.
It’s too much. It’s too much for these small towns to bear on their own. I know that they are lifted up, as much as they can be, by the prayers, condolences, and support that are coming in from not just around our nation, but around the world.
I feel so helpless. I feel like I should be there, but the best thing I can do for my own family is to be here in Pennsylvania with them. In lieu of physically being there to help, all I can do offer my love and well-wishes, and to aid them, even in a small way, financially.
There are ways you can help. You can make a donation, no matter how small, to help grieving families access the psychological care they need, to allow grieving parents to be able to stay home with their children right now, and to make sure those victim’s names are not forgotten. You can offer condolences, even by Facebook. You can celebrate the lives of the children and educators who were lost, instead of focusing on the individual who took those lives away from us.
At the moment, here are the ways you can help. I’ll update this as more information comes in. Two of the funds are specific to individual families; the others are for the larger community. All the organizations are working together.
(Photo Credit: Mark Malcolm)
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