Volunteers looks over tables full of donated toys at the town hall in Newtown, Conn., Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. / AP Photo/Seth Wenig
NEWTOWN, Conn. Officials in Newtown, Conn., are asking people to stop sending gifts to the grief-stricken community following the deadly school shooting, saying they're deeply grateful but can't handle the donation deluge.
The town's first selectman, police chief and mayor made the request Wednesday through an editor at The Newtown Bee newspaper.
They say since a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators on Dec. 14, gifts including artwork, school supplies and blankets have arrived from around the world. They say the small community's ability to process, store and distribute the goods was quickly overwhelmed.
The officials are asking people to temporarily stop sending gifts and instead distribute them locally in memory of the victims. They say once they process the "warehouses full of items," they'll detail the best ways to help.
Meanwhile, the United Way of Western Connecticut announced Wednesday that a fund established after the shooting to support Newtown has grown to $3.5 million.