Town of Newtown Grateful for Help, Asks for Temporary Halt of Donations
Town of Newtown Grateful for Help, Asks for Temporary Halt of Donations
First Selectman Pat Llodra told Newtown Bee managing editor John Voket to
ask the public to cease sending gifts to the community following the deadly school shooting, saying they’re very grateful but can’t handle the massive amount of donations coming in from around the country.
Voket told Bethel Buzz that in addition to the deluge of donations the town is dealing with, there is a strong concern for the many benefit concerts, private fundraising efforts and fundraising events taking place locally. “To avoid duplicate efforts the Town of Newtown has set up 3 committees to handle the many offers of help they are receiving,”Voket said. In addition to sifting through and channeling the hundreds of offers of help to the appropriate parties, the Town will also be investigating and vetting private venues and organizations to ensure all donations go to directly benefit the families.
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Please see more information below, published on 12/22/12 in the Newtown Bee, click here for more information.
Officials and community leaders working closely with residents and the survivors of the December 14 Sandy Hook School shooting wish to thank the people all over the world who have donated or are considering donating goods, services, or cash to help those affected.
The town issued a release December 22 to provide guidance and ensure donations go to good use and the purposes intended. Officials also want to inform the world about the status of the funds currently being collected by the United Way and Newtown Savings Bank in the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, which is one of many of funds collecting money.
According to Selectman Will Rodgers, a transition team has been formed to design an entity to receive that fund, as detailed below. This statement emanates from the Town of Newtown but is issued after consultation with various collecting entities including the United Way, Newtown Board of Education, other local charities and places of worship, and appropriate state officials.
Mr Rodgers said officials do not favor or discourage donations in general, or to any particular charitable entity or fund.
“Certainly it is not the intent to disparage any individual fund. And it is not an intent to speak for the entire charitable community,” he said, “and it is expressly not intended to speak for any of the families directly affected by this tragedy.”
The town, however, is offering this general guidance regarding donations of any type:
*Select a recipient fund that matches your intent in giving. There are any number of charities and funds that have arisen: individual or group victim family funds, scholarship funds, funds to construct physical memorials, funds for specific purposes or activities such as the arts, pets, therapy, etc. If you have a specific purpose, you will no doubt find a fund that addresses your desire.
*Engage in some level of verification or examination of the entity you are considering. Make sure you believe the entity is reliable because in these early days after the tragedy no general “vetting” or examinations may have been conducted of most funds, particularly smaller ones that have arisen to address this specific tragedy.
*Beware of groups that insist on immediate donations as most immediate needs are being met.
*If donating to a fund for a particular victim’s family, a key factor is whether the victim’s family itself knows and approves of the fund.
*Be patient and hold donations if possible to allow for processing, infrastructures, and safeguards to develop. Within a matter of a few days to a few weeks, structures will be developed to bring better organization to the charitable community. Right now many organizations are overwhelmed by the volume of giving. If, therefore, you are willing to wait a short time before donating, that may be helpful.
* Monetary (cash, checks, and credit card) and undesignated donations are often best. At this early stage all the costs, needs, and consequences of the tragedy are not yet known, indeed some have not yet unfolded. Monetary donations allow the receiving entity to match resources to needs. This applies particularly to corporate and other large donors.
In regard to the donations of goods or physical items such as perishable food, teddy bears, school supplies, etc. Many such offerings have been pouring into the Town, local places of worship, relief organizations, and others.
Officials are asking anyone organizing donations of goods and/or services to note the following guidance:
* 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.
Donations of services and volunteerism may range from staffing phones to painting walls to visits or performances from those in the sports and entertainment fields. Many such efforts are already underway or in planning stages.
* Grass roots volunteers should contact those entities they wish to serve directly.
* Sports, entertainment, and other national organizations are asked to register and coordinate with a point of contact soon to be established and publicized. In the interim, if such groups need information regarding where to place proceeds, contact specific funds of your choice.
The Sandy Hook School Support Fund at Newtown Savings Bank, established in partnership with the Untied Way, has been and will be receiving funds from those wishing to help with needs connected to the tragedy. Because there has been some misinformation circulating as the this Fund, the following points of information are offered:
*Neither the United Way nor Newtown Savings Bank has been taking any portion of the Fund whatsoever for administrative or other purposes. The funds collected remain 100 percent intact.
*Neither the United Way nor Newtown Savings Bank will be determining how the moneys in the fund will be distributed. Instead, the fund will be turned over to a charitable entity to be formed by local officials with the input or assistance of state officials and disaster fund experts from the public and private sectors.
The transition team working on that process and entity consists of Attorney Will Rodgers, selectman; Attorney Andrew Buzzi, Newtown resident; Debbie Leidlein, chairman, Board of Education; Kim Morgan, chief executive officer, United Way of Western CT; Elizabeth Goering, United Way of Western CT; Attorney Andrew Zeitlin, United Way Board of Trustees; John F. Trentacosta, President & CEO Newtown Savings Bank; Attorney David Grogins, Town Counsel, Cohen & Wolf; Attorney Floyd Dugas, Board of Education Counsel, Bercham, Moses & Devlin.
One of the key elements of such an entity will be that both the scope of the assistance it provides, as well as each case by case decision to render assistance, will be determined with community input or by a community based board. This fund is designed to receive only general, undesignated donations.