Unfortunately, shootings are happening frequently enough in our country that we are not necessarily surprised when they happen. However, as a country we are not numb to the horror and grief that follows.
Every school and public shooting that happens evokes a sense of sadness and confusion (what would prompt someone to do this?). However, the recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary where children young enough to still have all their baby teeth were killed catapulted the nation into mourning with all the victims and their families. So many were killed and so close to Christmas with no apparent reason that many want to reach out and help others. There is a need to do good to offset the evil actions that were taken on Friday, December 14, 2012.
If you would like to help, there are many ways you can. If money is tight, there are still ways you can show your support.
Give A Donation In Memory Of Or To Support The Victims And Families
The easiest way is to give a donation to the families. Some families such as Emilie Parker's will be travelling out of state, in their case, Utah, to bury their daughter. There are travel expenses to pay.
Every family will have the unexpected burial expenses to pay. Many parents will be unable to return to work immediately because their grief is so deep. Children and parents of both the children who died and those who survived will need counseling.
Here are some places you can donate:
- My Sandy Hook Family Fund – Designed to specifically help the families of the 26 who perished in the school.
- Newton Youth and Family Services – This organization is providing counseling to families and survivors. Donations can be made either to the company or to the families directly.
- Newtown Memorial Fund – The money collected here will be used to create a memorial for the victims as well as a scholarship in the victims' names.
- The Red Cross – The Red Cross is in Newtown, Connecticut assisting survivors and families.
- Emilie Parker's family will be travelling to Utah to bury her.
Ways To Donate – Besides Financially
As much as you may want to help the residents of Newtown, Connecticut, money may be tight and you may not be able to come up with a donation. If that is the case, there are still ways you can show your support and help the residents.
- Snowflakes for Sandy Hook – The Sandy Hook elementary students will return to a new school in January, and the PTA would like to put up hundreds of snowflakes as a way to welcome the students. They are welcoming donations of paper snowflakes to help with this endeavor.
- Swagbucks for Sandy Hook – Swagbucks always has a place where you can donate to various causes, but they have set up a way to donate your Swagbucks to The United Way in Connecticut to help those in Newtown. Every Swagbuck donated is worth .01 cents, so 100 Swagbucks is a $1.00 donation; 1000 Swagbucks is a $10 donation.
- 26 Random Acts of Kindness – Other people are fighting back against the evil that transpired by doing 26 random acts of kindness in memory of the 26 elementary school victims. The Huffington Post reported that many are sharing their good deeds on Twitter. It may be as simple as buying a coffee for someone at Starbucks or something much more extravagant. I read online that at one Starbucks, a chain of 12 cars in the drive thru line paid for one another's coffee, one after the other.
Protect Yourself From Scammers Profiting From The Tragedy
As always, use caution when donating. Unfortunately, scammers are expected to create fraudulent funds and actually profit off the tragedy. The Better Business Bureau recommends that you protect yourself and your donation by reaching out to the charity directly; most scammers reach out to you for a donation. According to WJHG in Panama City, Florida, a popular scam right now is to text you to ask if you would like to donate. Don't do it.
Another way to protect yourself is to do your homework to make sure the fund is legitimate and that you support the way the money will be used.
Be A Helper
Certainly, this tragedy has dulled the glow of Christmas a bit. However, take to heart the words of Fred Rogers aka Mr. Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping'. To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster', I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in the world” (Huffington Post).
While we can't erase this tragedy and the pain it has caused, we can make the world better by being a helper to someone in need in whatever way we are able to.