The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

January 6, 2013

Newtown sets up task force to handle donations

(Continued)

NEWTOWN, Conn. —

The group has been deploying about 800 volunteers to open the town’s mail, work at the warehouse and connect potential donations with the correct fund or organization.

Liz Eaton, 70, who lives in the village of Sandy Hook, was sent to the warehouse to help box bears.

“People at church have said they needed some help,” she said. “And I just wanted to help out.”

Others are tasked with returning every phone call that has come into the town offering help.

“We had someone offer 26 granite benches for any memorial,” Robin Fitzgerald said. “That’s put into a list of what we call escalated offers, so we mark that down and when they decide on a memorial they will know about that offer.”

The town originally expected it would take the task force about two weeks to complete its work. The Fitzgeralds said the task force now expects to be working for about three months, possibly longer.

“What we’re telling people on the phone now is that if you are holding a fundraiser in your local community, we appreciate it, but direct those resources to your local community, that’s what the families want,” Robin Fitzgerald said. “About 99 1/2 percent of the time that works. But the other half says, ‘We’re coming anyway.’ And then we just give them the address of the warehouse or here.”

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