The aftermath of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and worldwide grief over the deaths of 27 people in the killings have caused a resultant outpouring of generosity — so much so that authorities in the area of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting are imploring concerned people to please not send any more items to Newtown.
As interest in the Newtown shootings spread across social media, so too did calls to send items such as handmade snowflakes to the area to welcome traumatized school kids back to the classroom. Now authorities in Newtown say the town is overwhelmed with warehouses full of items needing to be sorted and dealt with as gifts arrive daily, and that the gifts sent to Newtown are causing a logistical headache.
Before the shooting, controversy arose when GOP candidate Mitt Romney organized a post-hurricane drive for goods to be sent to victims of Hurricane Sandy — and the issue of how items sent affect an impacted area has arisen again after the Newtown school shooting.
After the event, the Red Cross reiterated that goods sent to the scene of a disaster often do more harm than good, as resources are drained in the sorting, receiving, distributing or discarding of such items — many of which are often not of use to those affected in the first place.
In the local Newtown Bee, Newtown Selectman Will Rodgers underscored that he does not speak for the families of Newtown survivors or any individual efforts in the plea, saying:
“Certainly it is not the intent to disparage any individual fund. And it is not an intent to speak for the entire charitable community … and it is expressly not intended to speak for any of the families directly affected by this tragedy.”
A list of guidelines for giving to Newtown victims followed, noting that “most immediate needs are being met,” and that it may not be a bad idea to wait and see what needs arise in the weeks following the shooting.
The paper also advised on behalf of officials:
“Contact the receiving organization first to determine whether it wishes the donation, and is prepared to receive it. Certain groups, including town and Board of Education offices, may wish to have you hold or send your donation elsewhere, to a central processing point, for instance … Please do not send perishable goods any longer, except at specific request. There is no way to distribute them in a timely fashion … Again, patience would be appreciated. Physical goods require resources for handling and those resources are strained. In most cases each item requires some level of inspection by law enforcement by protocol as a precaution.”
Still, plans are being made nationwide to make and send crafts to Newtown, and it seems the plea has not been heard widely just yet. The Nashua Telegraphquotes local craft supply owner Rebecca Frederickson, who is hosting an event Friday to make and send snowflakes to Newtown.
Frederickson explains that people want to help, and no longer feel “helpless” about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school:
“This whole past week, everybody has been really upset and sad … It’s just a positive way we can make a direct impact because a lot of people feel helpless.”
You can read the full list of guidelines and Newtown’s request over at the Newtown Bee.