SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

February 25, 2013

Newtown volunteers handwriting thank-you notes

(Continued)

Moreno said it’s not clear what will be done with the digital photographs. She would like to create a website where the public could view them.

“The victims’ families, I know, many of them are not ready to see all this stuff yet,” she said. “A lot of people aren’t ready. But maybe later down the road, maybe they will want to see it. And the only way they would be able to is if somebody documented it.”

One side benefit, she said, is the group has found checks or other gifts in the mail that were overlooked earlier. Those were given to the town or charities to which they are addressed.

Meanwhile, another group, the Newtown Volunteer Task Force, has begun answering some of that mail.

The organization, which is coordinating all the volunteer work being done for Newtown, created thank-you cards that read in part, “Your voice has been heard and your caring is deeply appreciated.”

Under that printed message, a volunteer includes one or two handwritten lines to let the recipient know that their letter was read.

Volunteers are going through letters and picking out ones that touch them personally, said Robin Fitzgerald, a task force organizer.

Because the task force has no budget, the volunteers are asked to bring their own stamps.

“It’s another exercise in healing for our town, to recognize all the love that was sent from literally everywhere,” she said. “So we would just like to send as much of that back as we can.”

Renee Berger, 60, lives in neighboring Monroe and volunteers at the center. She says she’s answered letters from parents and grandparents who have lost children of their own to cancer or some other tragedy, and many church groups.

She said one of the most touching and emotional was from a police officer in Oklahoma City, who talked about responding to the bombing at the federal building there in 1995, and wanted to send his love to Newtown’s first responders.

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