Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Snowflake Project; Feeling the Love for Sandy Hook

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the CT PTSA created the Snowflake Project to decorate the new school for the survivors of Sandy Hook school.  It was a wonderful idea and the country and the world answered.

In fact they answered so much so that they had to close the project due to the overwhelming response as well as put a call out for volunteers to help sort through all the boxes that came in.  I was lucky enough to hear about the call for volunteers and immediately set up time to help.  I even emailed some friends to join me.

Tonight my neighbor, a friend, and I drove an hour and a half to the CT PTSA to help sort through the mail.  When we arrived there were "No Press" signs on the door so I felt uncomfortable taking photos.  Nevertheless the sight amazed me.  Boxes and boxes upon boxes of mail and that was just one room.  All through out the office beautiful snowflakes were hung and the women were working overtime sorting through the mail.

We were immediately put to work and shown the ropes.  Every piece of mail had to be opened, return addresses kept, cards sorted, snowflakes sorted, etc.  It was a job alright.  And I can't imagine how many boxes they had already gone through.

I got to work and was immediately struck with a sense of sadness and pride.  It was so sad that something like this had happened - I mean too sad for words.  But I was so proud of all the people all over the world who had responded with kind words, snowflakes, and donations.  It was unreal (and like I said, who knows how many boxes had already been opened!).

Every day we hear about sad things, crazy people, tragedies, and violence.  The news is so depressing, I actually refuse to watch it.  Being there tonight and seeing all the amazing things people spent time sending was so heart warming I felt so proud to be part of it; and though I was only there for two hours, I felt I had made a difference and genuinely helped.

Some of the amazing things I saw I feel the desire to share.  People are so creative and generous.

  • Snowflakes made of:  macaroni, pipe cleaners, all different colors and types of paper, wallpaper, coffee filters, wrapping paper, ceramic, wax paper, stickers, yarn, popsicle sticks, foam...
  • Large banners with tons of signatures and condolences.
  • Cards for the victims from perfect strangers.
  • One middle school in Indiana even got the entire school in the gym; half were on the bleachers and half formed a heart on the floor.  Every single student made a heart with their hands and they took a photo. They printed a huge photo and sent it.  It was, I don't know. I can't describe it.  Beautiful.
  • Local offices of big time chains like Bank of America, Wendy's, Whole Foods, etc sent hand cut snowflakes while others like Sephora sent beautiful 3D snowflakes.
  • A huge box of hand made and drawn snowflakes from a school for autism.  The letter and the unique snowflakes made my eyes tear up.
  • A large box of brand new stuffed animals, hand made fleece blankets, porcelain snowflakes hand painted but an entire community for every child at Sandy Hook, and a big box of school supplies.
And the list goes on...

Again I was there for only two hours but the women had been there for weeks sorting.  Can you feel the love yet?  The outpouring affection, love, support, and prayers for the Sandy Hook community?

It is so sad that something like this had to happen yet it brings us together in a way we can't explain.

Every single state in the United States was represented and many countries around the world with the mail that arrived.  I took photos of the pins they put on the maps.

I'm so glad I was able to help.  I'm so glad the world was able to help too.  And just know that if you sent something, it was opened, cared about, and shared.  Thank you and thank you CT PTSA.

To end, I'll leave you with a quote from President Obama that affected me so much as I'm sure it will you:

"When I visited Newtown last month, I spent some private time with many of the families who lost their children that day. And one was the family of Grace McDonnell. Grace's parents are here. Grace was seven years old when she was struck down – just a gorgeous, caring, joyful little girl. I'm told she loved pink. She loved the beach. She dreamed of becoming a painter. And so just before I left, Chris, her father, gave me one of her paintings, and I hung it in my private study just off the Oval Office. And every time I look at that painting, I think about Grace. And I think about the life that she lived and the life that lay ahead of her, and most of all, I think about how, when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now – for Grace. For the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators who had so much left to give. For the men and women in big cities and small towns who fall victim to senseless violence each and every day. For all the Americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm. Let's do the right thing. Let's do the right thing for them, and for this country that we love so much.[7]"

God bless the families of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  Every one of them and may you find peace.  Know that we are all still thinking and praying for you.  Much love from me and my family in East Lyme, CT.

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