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Newtown Community Comes Together To Create Fund For Grieving Families

NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- Neighbors are joining hands to help the families that lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

They're wrapping Christmas gifts for surviving siblings, and they're raising money to help cover whatever expenses the victims' families might need, CBS 2's Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.

A "ding" on an iPhone every few minutes is a happy sound at a painful time.

"It reminds me of 'It's a Wonderful Life,' when a bell rings and an angel gets its wings," Rob Accomando said.

Photos: The Victims Of The Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre

Every "ding" is an e-mail confirming another donation to

The fund was created by the Accomando family and other Sandy Hook neighbors who gathered in a kitchen the night of the shooting.

"We just got exhausted by the crying and needed to do something productive," Accomando said.

Rob Accomando helps run a youth wrestling program. That was a favorite activity of Jack Pinto, one of the 20 innocent first graders murdered at the school by gunman Adam Lanza.

At Jack's funeral on Monday, a friend told Accomando of another victim's family struggling to bury their child.

"Just emptied their life savings to pay for the funeral and I said 'okay, we can do something about that,'" Accomando said.

Each victim's family is being asked to fill out a needs assessment form so the fund can figure out how best to help.

"There are so many immediate needs right now, from families that don't have appropriate clothing for their children's funerals to we don't have a hotel room and we have family flying in," Debora Accomando said.

In two days the fund has raised about a $250,000, with many of the donors leaving notes of condolence.

"I hope you can feel the circle of love that all of us are surrounding you with," Rob Accomando read from one of the notes, adding later, "One hundred percent of the money is going to these families."

From donations online to a show of support on the streets, the people of Sandy Hook say their gratitude helps soothe their grief.

The fund organizers are hoping a major accounting firm will volunteer to oversee their efforts, reassuring donors that 100 percent of donations will be spent on the families.

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