Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
VERNAL — Since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, people around the country have stories about how they're finding ways to show support to the victims and their families. And while Newtown is thousands of miles away, Utahns are joining the cause and finding creative ways to reach out to help Connecticut families affected by last week's shootings.
With fingers clenching scissors — cutting fleece fabric, students at Uintah High School turned their cafeteria into a blanket-making factory. Since Sunday, the students raised $17,000 dollars.
Some of the money bought fleece fabric to make the blanket and donations are still pouring in from all over Utah and states including: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
"We've had a gentleman from Wisconsin who offered to donate just $12," said Uintah High School Student Body President, Grayson Massey. "He said, 'Will this make a blanket?' We said, 'Absolutely.'"
By Wednesday afternoon, the students reached their goal to make 800 fleece quilts.
"These are security blankets," said Massey. "Designed to help these kids overcome any problems they may have." Now these ‘security blankets' will be donated to the students at Sandy Hook Elementary — some will be gifts to the siblings of the children killed in last week's shootings. Anadarko Petroleum offered to cover the entire cost of shipping the blankets to Newtown.
Massey said even the smallest of donations mean so much to the Uintah High community in making a difference for the Sandy Hook Elementary students and families.
For others in Utah, the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary became very personal.
Jane Hoffman from Salt Lake City is one of them. She is a stay at home mom and former teacher.
Hoffman says she spent the weekend trying to figure out what could be done to help the families and honor the victims. She started a Facebook page, and a website so people can donate to help pay for the funerals of the victims.
Her site is starting to spread. So far Hoffman has gathered nearly $3,000 for the Sandy Hook Victims.
"I have a 3-year-old who is going to be going to preschool next year," said Kami Smith.
That's the reason why Smith and two other business partners joined other vendors to sell bracelets on their online retail shop called Brick Yard Buffalo.
In just three hours Tuesday, the site sold over 250 bracelets and made over $1,000. All of the money went to a fund at America First Credit Union in Emilie Parker's name. Parker was a six-year-old Ogden girl that was killed in the Sandy Hook shootings last week.
Smith said her online company will begin another fundraising campaign Thursday, this time selling art prints.
"These are really big designers so people will want these prints," said Smith. "And everything will go to these victims."
Smith said raising money is just a small gesture to show support for Newtown families.
"You always think your kids are safe at school and now this kind of reality check reminds [us] that thing do happen like this," Smith said. "We are praying and we're thinking of them all the time."