ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS/WKMG) Cindy Anthony, the maternal grandmother of Caylee Anthony whose 2008 disappearance and subsequent murder made national headlines, has stirred up a hornet's nest by offering to donate Caylee's clothes to charity.
Now the charity in question is denying any connection at all to the Anthony family.
Cindy Anthony, whose daughter Casey is currently awaiting trial for Caylee's murder, sent an email Tuesday to CBS affiliate WKMG announcing her intention to donate Caylee's shoes to the Children of Love Foundation.
But the charity, which benefits orphans in Honduras and central Florida, says they never asked for her help.
Doris Patalano, the founder of Children of Love, says that she had no idea of Cindy Anthony's intentions until she began being bombarded with "hateful," threatening phone calls from protesters Wednesday morning, according to WKMG.
Patalano says she wants the public to understand her organization has no association with the Anthony family and that she never sought publicity from Cindy Anthony.
Patalano, who herself is an orphan, started the charity nearly 20 years ago to provide orphans in Honduras and central Florida with food, clothing and mentoring, but says she now fears that not only has this controversy endangered her charity as well as her livelihood.
That's because Patalano had been passing out fliers to her customers at the pharmacy where she has worked for 20 years, including to Cindy Anthony, a long-time customer. Patalano says she had planned to hold the shoe drive at the same pharmacy and that other pharmacies were going to do the same thing.
But now, because of the backlash, the other pharmacies have pulled out, Patalano told the station.
Cindy Anthony responded to the controversy in an e-mail to WKMG saying, "Hopefully everyone will be respectful to what this event is all about. It's not about my family. It's about doing a good thing for others. My goal is to help this foundation collect shoes for the orphans in Honduras. Unfortunately, the media would not have normally covered this event had it not been for my involvement."
Cindy Anthony's daughter Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and has claimed a baby sitter kidnapped her daughter, Caylee. The toddler's remains were found about six months after the mother said she last saw her alive.
Her trial is set to begin in May 2011.