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Monday, December 31, 2012

Stuffed animal drive based in Hudson for families of Newtown, Conn., will now benefit local children

HUDSON – With an overwhelming show of support and influx of donations since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which left 28 people dead, including the killer, officials are now asking that physical donations remain local.

Even with this request, the two area women who launched the Someone Who Loves You Project will continue their stuffed animal drive until its designated end date of Jan. 13. Ashleigh Homon, of Grafton, with the help of co-worker Jenna Selfridge, of Hudson, organized the project with the intent to send stuffed animals to the children and families of Newtown in time for Valentine’s Day. ...

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HUDSON – With an overwhelming show of support and influx of donations since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which left 28 people dead, including the killer, officials are now asking that physical donations remain local.

Even with this request, the two area women who launched the Someone Who Loves You Project will continue their stuffed animal drive until its designated end date of Jan. 13. Ashleigh Homon, of Grafton, with the help of co-worker Jenna Selfridge, of Hudson, organized the project with the intent to send stuffed animals to the children and families of Newtown in time for Valentine’s Day.

Last week, Newtown issued a press release about donations. It said the most helpful way for those wanting to make a donation is in monetary form through the United Way at Newtown.uwwesternct.org.

“The outpouring of generosity behind incoming donated goods is overwhelming (and) may quickly overrun the capacity of the community to manage the goods. Currently, children’s items, food and clothing supplies are arriving in abundance and sufficient,” the release said.

“With that said, we are not disbanding this project,” Homon wrote on the Some Who Loves You Project’s Facebook page. “However, instead of delivering these friends to help those in Newtown, the donations will be brought to hospitals, shelters and other organizations.”

Homon came up with the idea of sending stuffed animals the day of the shooting after she felt the urge to hug every child at the elementary school and give them a teddy bear. Through Facebook, a number of drop-off locations sprang up in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and North Carolina by the end of the weekend, ready to take collections for the children and their families of Newtown.

She urged those in charge of drop-off locations in other states to do the same as Selfridge and she plan to do in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“Distribute locally,” Homon said. She wants the number of animals collected, where they came from along with plenty of pictures to be gathered. Once the Jan. 13 date hits, she plans on writing a letter to the town of Newtown explaining the project and its origins in comforting the children and families there. She will also send one “Someone Who Loves You” bear, complete with a tag with this saying, to the town.

“The purpose of this project is provide love and hope, to show that there are still good people in this world. That hasn’t changed,” Homon said. “We have all been affected by this tragedy and understand that people want to help. However, we want to respect the wishes of Newtown and its (people).”

Locally, people will be able to drop off new or gently loved stuffed animals at the entrance/exit of Hannaford, 77 Derry Road, in Hudson. They can also mail their donations there.

Homon said she will set up volunteer days to prep the animals with the ribbons and tags.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com and search for “Someone Who Loves You Project.”

Erin Place can be reached at 594-6589 or eplace@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Place on Twitter (@Telegraph_ ErinP).