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Newtown distributing donations


Following a deadly school shooting in Newtown three weeks ago, hundreds of volunteers continue to sort and pack all the items being sent to the town.

On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother while she slept at her home before he went to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six adults.

He killed himself as police made their way into the building.

After the shooting, several items were sent to the town and several memorials were established. 

Town officials and volunteers have been cataloguing items such as school supplies, toys and teddy bears, filling boxes and stacking them. The items started to fill a warehouse on Simm Lane right after the shooting.

"We're palletizing boxes in the storage room, bringing that to the back room and making sure to fill the inventory tickets out properly," said one of the volunteers, Dick Zang.

Zang said he and his wife are retired and decided to "put in the hours" to help with the effort. Zang is one of the two to three dozen volunteers each day.

Newtown Town Assessor Chris Kelsey said that teachers have picked through the donations and used them for their new classrooms.

Now town officials have an even better idea of what will happen to all the items not needed by the Sandy Hook and Newtown school communities.

"We're waiting for the families to give us input as to where they'd like stuff directed," Kelsey said. "And then, we'll put a committee together and start distributing to different charities."

Kelsey, whose usual duties have been on hold since the murders, said they've got a list of hundreds of other charities that could benefit from the donations, including battered women's shelters, orphanages and the Department of Children and Families. 

Last week, Friends of Newtown's Public Library were called to come in to start sorting through fiction and non-fiction books.

"When it was clear that the number of books coming in was so great that they couldn't just go over to the library at Sandy Hook School," said one of the members of the Friends of Newtown's Public Library.

The daughter of the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal shot and killed in the mass shooting last month kept her mother's memory alive during a fundraiser Monday night.

Erica Lafferty, 27, held a fundraiser in the name of her mother, Dawn Hochsprung, at the Paul Mitchell School in North Haven, with all the proceeds going to a student scholarship at Naugatuck High School, which is Hochsprung's alma mater.

The total amount raised during the event was $2,711.

"It's just overwhelming support," Lafferty said.

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