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{December 17, 2012}   Giving Back Is “The Greenville Way”

Again, this is a very different blog article than I originally had planned. I was going to write about something festive and frivolous like places to go for a hot toddy, or who had the best Holiday desserts. But recent events in a small, close-knit community in Connecticut…a community that, from all appearances, is very much like our own community, changed all of that. And on this cold, rainy day, I find myself thinking of the families of Newtown, CT .

In Greenville, like many other smaller towns & cities, coming together in times of tragedy is not uncommon. We bring food to those who have lost a loved one, collect toys and food for families less fortunate and each weekend, collections plates are filled to the brim at area churches.  Whether it is giving sanctuary to a young Jewish man escaping the Nazi regime, as in the case of former mayor, Max Heller, or a church providing shoes to impoverished schoolchildren like was recently witnessed at Grove Elementary, we as community, come together to help those in need…we even refer to this as “The Greenville Way”.

Now, the people of the Sandy Hook community in Newtown, CT are in pain and many of us in Greenville feel an urgent need to help. The United Way has set up a Sandy Hook School Support Fund, to help those affected by this terrible tragedy. Donations can be sent to Sandy Hook School Support Fund,  c/o Newtown Savings Bank,  39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470.

Counseling for the young witnesses of the shooting and the families of the victims of this tragedy will also be needed, not only in the following days, but reaching far into the future. Newtown Youth & Family Services, Inc., a nonprofit mental health clinic, will be providing emergency counseling to families, community members & staff. All donations made to the organization will benefit those affected. For more information, visit http://www.newtownyouthandfamilyservices.org.  The Newtown Parent Connection, a nonprofit that usually addresses issues of substance abuse, also offers bereavement group counseling. They are attempting to help the citizens of Sandy Hook by bringing in additional counselors to accommodate the needs of those affected by the shootings. For more information, please visit http://www.newtownparentconnection.org.

The Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue, whose firehouse served as “ground zero” for the media, rescue & emergency personnel and families, is coordinating a toy drive for the siblings of the children who lost their lives in these horrible events. New, unwrapped toys can be sent directly to the firehouse – Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue, 18-20 Riverside Rd.,  P.O. Box 783,  Sandy Hook, CT 06482. The all-volunteer rescue squad will distribute the toys to the families.

But there are other ways to honor the fallen with aid and donations to organizations here in the Upstate. Mental Health is an issue that has come into the spotlight due to this tragedy.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI of Greenville, is non-profit, grass-roots organization offering support, education and advocacy for people with serious mental illness and their families. The majority of their funding comes from donations, which help support such programs as Support Groups and Outreach for those battling mental illness. For more information, visit  http://www.namigreenvillesc.org.

Domestic Violence and Violence Against Children are other issues this event has brought to the forefront. The Julie Valentine Center, named for an abandoned, unknown infant girl,  strives to help those in the Upstate who have been victims of domestic violence, rape and incest. Donations to this deserving organization will help fund community education, treatment for victims and services for children. For more information, visit http://www.julievalentinecenter.org.

Please keep the families and others of Newtown, CT in your thoughts and prayers. It is normal to feel helpless when something so horrendous happens anywhere. But when a community comes together, especially in aid of those in need, be it locally or in a tiny village in the Northeastern US, t is strengthened tenfold. And, as a community, Greenville has a tendency to stand strong.  Godspeed Downtownies…

More Ways to Help…

In Newtown…

  • Meals: Provide meals to the families and volunteers of Sandy Hook. Two local restaurants taking orders for meals for those affected by the tragedy are King’s Breakfast & Lunch at 203-426-6881 and  My Place Pizza at 203-270-7061.

In Greenville…

  • A Child’s Haven:  A nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of young children who have experienced developmental delays or behavioral challenges. Many are victims of poverty, child abuse or domestic violence. For more information, visit http://www.achildshaven.org.
  • Safe Harbor: This non-profit helps victims of domestic violence, providing safe emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, and community outreach and education. For more information, visit http://safeharborsc.org.
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