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Tewksbury Residents Gathering Backpacks, School Supplies For Newtown Kids

Students had to leave supplies behind during evacuation and Sand Hook elementary remains sealed off.

An Tewksbury resident is spearheading an effort to deliver backpacks filled to school supplies to the displaced students of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Suzanne Countie, an office manager with Merrimack Family Practice, said the goal is to gather 650 backpacks, each filled with school supplies.

"These kids had to leave all of their school stuff behind," said Countie. The school has remained an active crime scene Civilians have not been allowed back inside.

Countie said she is asking Tewksbury residents to donate backpacks and, if possible, fill them with elementary supplies. She plans to lead a caravan of vehicles, driven by family and friends, to deliver the backpacks on Friday, Dec. 28.

"This is just families helping out families," said Countie. "We know this is a hard time, around Christmas, and people don't have a lot. But really, anything people can do is great. Even if it's just a pack of crayons."

Countie said she hasn't approached any of the local discount giants to ask them to take care of the entire donation because she is hoping this will be a grassroots, community effort.

"We've got about 100 backpacks right now and that's just been through the first 24 hours," she said.

Dr. Frank Osborne, medical director for Merrimack Family Medicine, is allowing the practice to be used as a drop-off spot for donations.

Backpacks and supplies can be dropped off at the practice, located at 600 Clark Road, adjacent to the Market Basket at Stadium Plaza. Drop off times are Friday, Dec. 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Dec. 24 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information on the backpack/school supply drive for Newtown can contact Suzanne Countie at 978-851-4141.

Suzanne December 20, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I spoke to a volunteer in Newtown who is helping organize donations and told them we are coming down on the 28th. They are currently looking for a space for us to deliver the backpacks.
Brenda December 20, 2012 at 10:14 PM
What an AWESOME thing you are putting together, Suzanne!!! I am happy to call you a friend, and to be part of what you are doing here!!
Andrea December 21, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Hey Suzanne, you are without a doubt the most passoniate person I know. I think what you are doing is incredible and thoughtful. I know that this jesture will put a smile on faces that have seen so much sadness. Thank you from my family to yours. Merry Christmas and happiest of New Years. Drive safe! Andrea Quinn
Suzanne December 31, 2012 at 06:35 PM
On Friday, 5 cars loaded up and headed down to Sandy Hook Elementary. We had with us 17 people, 300+ backpacks, LOTS of teacher supplies and an whole lot of love. The volunteers were ready for our arrival and could not have been more appreciative… They genuinely were so excited about our delivery. After unloading we visited the memorial sight in the tiny downtown area of Sandy Hook – within walking distance to the entrance of the school. This idyllic New England town has been flipped upside down. All along the sidewalk, stacked 2+ feet deep and high were thousands of teddy bears, angels, candles, signs, cards, wreaths, poems, crosses and every other wonderful memento sent to the community from all over the world. Everyone walked in a silent-single file to view these tributes, say a prayer and shed many tears. A single tree, bare of its leaves, had hanging 26 large white crosses each with a name of those we lost, while attached to a post were 26 white roses – each with a hand painted face of those 26 angels.
Suzanne December 31, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Off to the left of the town center was a partially closed road, kept open only for pedestrians which lead to the entrance of the school’s driveway. We walked up the road, as if we were being drawn by a higher power.. Once over the crest of the hill you immediately saw 26 Christmas trees lining the street - each adorned with a beautiful large white angel on top and tons of teddy bears, gifts and tributes laid out on the ground below. The huge carved wooden heart with a large crack down its center and the note: “Our Hearts are Broken” so poignantly says it all. Personally, I am honored and humbled to have been part of this project. In all of this sadness, I am reminded again there is still so much good left in this world and it was evident throughout Newtown and Sandy Hook. And WE did make a difference.. Thank you .. Thank you... Thank you.

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