Everyone knows Southington has a big heart.
In the days following the unspeakable tragedy of violence at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, the people of Southington responded with a deep sense of shock, anxiety and sadness for the victims, families and those who survived the horror.
Broad TV news and internet coverage brought the nation to the its emotional edge. The First Congregational Church of Southington was filled to capacity by an interfaith crowd attending a soulful interfaith prayer vigil Sunday evening. Monday evening, St. Dominic Church added a prayer service to its planned Reconciliation Service.
This evening, Friday, December 21, 2012, the Sikh community is hosting a Candlelight Vigil honoring the victims and people of Newtown at its Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar (temple), with speakers Sen. Joe Markley, members of the interfaith clergy, Board of Education and others. All are invited to the service which begins at 7:00 pm at the Gurdwara, located at 1610 West Street in Southington.
People throughout town are talking about what we can do for the families of the victims and the people of Newtown.
One of the many ideas discussed among town and group leaders was the collection of stuffed animals for the children of Newtown which Rachel Wache announced early this week in this blog with the Giving Back Girls being one of the action groups in the drive.
The groundswell of support was amazing but within a day or two Newtown had enough snuggly bears, stuffed animals and other toys to fill a train. But because we quickly recognized the compelling need of people to reach out and be a part of the healing process; to be a part of the mourning, the coping and getting through the critical period ahead. And, there was the reality of the now imaginable threat hanging over any community and its families.
Wednesday a group of 20, representing a various sectors of the community, met to organize Southington SOS, whose mission is bringing people together in a time of need. A start-up plan of action was promptly organized to offer citizens a variety of options on how they can help in the Newtown crisis.
Southington SOS will continue to meet. But the group has already identified a list of tangible ways to support the folks of Newtown and ourselves in this challenging time. See list of options below:
- Send monetary donations to Sandy Hook School Support Fund which has been set up by United Way of Western CT to provide a variety of needed services to families and communities that have been affected. Send donations, made payable to Sandy Hook School Support Fund, to United Way of Southington, PO Box 546, Southington, CT 06489.
- Send monetary donations to The Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Connecticut which will cover college costs for students who currently attend the Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as siblings of those killed in the assault and dependents of teachers and other adults who lost their lives, who are admitted to UCONN in the future. Mail checks to UCONN Foundation at 2390 Alumni Drive Unit 3206, Storrs, CT 06269-3206 or go to www.friends.uconn.edu/sandyhook.
- The Connecticut Commission for Children, in partnership with others, has a website to assist caregivers in talking with or counselling children about the school shooting.
- See "Facts for Families" and "Disaster Resource Center". Child Traumatic Grief Speaker Series. 860-621-8737jmyers@sccymca>org.
- Other ways to contribute include Newtown Rotary Sandy Hook Memorial Fund, Operation Snuggle Newtown, and other individual funds that have been set up for victims and families. Locally, donations may be dropped off at The YMCA at 29 High Street in Southington.
- Several non-monetary gifts of support were also highlighted at the meeting of Southington SOS, including organizing a Green & White Day, sending cards, lighting luminaries, sending Snowflakes, wearing ribbons, conducting moments of silence and attending prayer vigils.
- SouthingtonSOS has already idenitifed and cleared a list of support services and resources for parents within our community, including:
- Encouragement of parents to talk directly with their school’s administration and guidance departments. Local interfaith clergy are a terrific resource for guidance and comfort.
- There are wonderful resources available at our dedicated Youth Services Department in the Municipal Center. They will be around the holiday week. 860-276-6281
- Infoline – call 211
- Several links for parents and families follow:
In the coming weeks, SouthingtonSOS will continue to meet to provide the community with updated information and resources. Suggestions and comments are welcome. YMCA Director, John Myers may be contacted at 860-621-8737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authors Note: Humans need to help others; it often seems to be part of the genetic definition of the species. My experience tells me that homo sapiens, (wise man), also has a genetic quality of caritas (love of others). -ERF
For more connect to The Quest for Common Ground.