But I also can't bring myself to write about what happened. I could never do justice to such a horrible event, and I probably couldn't even describe my feelings about it in a coherent manner. And, my feelings seem meaningless when I think about the parents who have to look at empty beds, empty car seats, empty seats at the dinner table. For me, there really are no words.
My response to horrific events in the past has always been to ask, "How can I help?" When the victims are far away, it can be hard to find ways to help directly. Usually, monetary donations are the easiest way. After 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the earthquake in Haiti, I helped organize fundraisers for the United Way, the American Red Cross, and UNICEF at my elementary school. We were able to raise hundreds of dollars, even though many of the school's students lived in poverty themselves.
So, in that vein, if you are able to donate money to help the victims' families and the community of Newtown, here are some ways to do it:
- The United Way of Western Connecticut has created the "Sandy Hook School Support Fund" to provide support services to the families and community that have been affected. You can find more information here. (Interestingly, the American Red Cross website sends potential donors to the United Way Fund as well--they say they have what they need to support their current response efforts.)
- The Newtown Family Connection is accepting donations on its website, and says all the funds it receives will go to victims' families.
- Newtown Youth and Family Services has also been collecting donations, but its website now recommends that potential donors go through the United Way fund mentioned above.
But I can't stop thinking about the teachers, staff, students, and families of Sandy Hook Elementary School. I don't know what good it will do, or if it will even end up in the hands of someone who will appreciate it, but I think I will send a condolence card--or maybe several--to the town. Snopes.com confirms that the USPS has established an address specifically for this reason, if you'd like to send one too:
Messages of Condolence for Newtown
PO Box 3700
Newtown, CT 06470
Again, I can't say for sure who will be receiving mail or who will be available to process the flood of cards they are sure to receive, but I can only hope that someone there will see at some point that my thoughts and prayers have been with the whole Newtown community.
It's only been one day, and I'm sure more opportunities to help will become available over time. I will update this post with any other links I find. If you know of a way to help out that I haven't mentioned, please feel free to let us know in the comments.
Meanwhile, I'll be driving my boys crazy with extra hugs and kisses. They are too young to know about any of this, so they may just think I've lost my mind. That's fine with me.