The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

January 7, 2013

Newtown sets up task force to handle donations

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Chris Kelsey is the tax assessor in Newtown, but for the better part of three weeks, his job has been setting up and organizing a warehouse to hold the toys, school supplies and other gifts donated in the wake of the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Despite the town’s pleas to stop sending gifts, Kelsey said trucks have been arriving daily with tokens of support from across the world, some for the families of those killed, others for the children of Sandy Hook, still others for the town.

“A lot of the town’s normal business is still on pause,” he said. “I have a couple of people still doing assessor’s business, and then if they can, open mail a couple hours too. We’re all kind of doing what we can to get this done.”

A task force has been set up to coordinate the more than 800 volunteers who have been working to sort the gifts, open mail and answer the thousands of emails and phone calls offering assistance.

The volunteers have begun making a dent in the pile of tens of thousands of teddy bears that stretched to the warehouse ceiling. By last week, they had sorted 30,000 of them into small, medium and large sizes, catalogued them and put them in boxes. They are also separating and boxing piles of crayons, pencils, books and much more.

“It’s a ton of stuff, and we have an operation just as big for mail as well,” Kelsey said.

There are also 26 large moving boxes in the warehouse, each labeled with a victim’s name. When a gift comes in specifically addressed to those families, it goes in those boxes. The families have been coming in periodically to empty them.

A toy giveaway was held for all Newtown children before Christmas and some of the remaining toys and stuffed animals have been taken to children’s hospitals. The rest will be stored until the town decides where they should go, Kelsey said.

He said letters have been sent to each of the victim’s families asking for their input. His cellphone is filled with emails from charities across the country.

The work organizing the warehouse is being done by volunteers from Adventist Community Services, a faith-based group that has done similar work after hurricanes and other natural disasters.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • At mudslide scene, Obama mourns with survivors

    OSO, Wash. — Swooping over a landscape of unspeakable sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month. He pledged a nation’s solidarity ...

    April 23, 2014

  • GM, lawyers fight over protections

    DETROIT — General Motors Co. and a battalion of trial lawyers are preparing for an epic court fight over whether GM is liable for the sins of its corporate past. The company is asking a U.S. bankruptcy court to shield it from legal claims ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Boston Marathon One year after tragedy, 32,000 run Boston Marathon

    BOSTON — Some ran to honor the dead and wounded. Others were out to prove something to the world about their sport, the city or their country. And some wanted to prove something to themselves....

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Festivities, tight security before race

    BOSTON — In many ways, it felt like any other pre-marathon Sunday in Boston....

    April 21, 2014

  • Boston race makes room for those affected by bombs

    BOSTON — “I need to run.” The messages started arriving just hours after the bombings, pleading for an entry into the 2014 Boston Marathon. For months the calls and emails continued, runners begging for an opportunity to cross the finish ...

    April 21, 2014

  • Documents detail another delayed GM recall for failed power steering

    DETROIT — General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and more than 30,000 warranty repair claims, according to government documents released ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Landslide devouring part of Wyoming town

    JACKSON, Wyo. — A slow-motion disaster continued unfolding in the Wyoming resort town of Jackson on Saturday, as a creeping landslide that split a hillside home threatened to swallow up more houses and businesses. The ground beneath the ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

    Travelers at Asian airports have asked questions about the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Here are some of them, followed by answers. Samuel Rogers is a 20-year-old ...

    April 20, 2014

  • NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs....

    April 20, 2014

  • Hostage French journalists in Syria freed

    PARIS — Four French journalists held hostage in Syria for 10 months have been released, officials said Saturday, the latest batch of reporters to be freed in what has become the world’s deadliest conflict for the media....

    April 20, 2014