Relief agencies provide assistance to Newtown families

A day after the massacre in Newtown, Conn., the question "Why?" has been followed by "How can I help?"

International and community organizations have responded by setting up support and services for the victims' families.

To help community kids, Save the Children, the international non-governmental organization for children's rights, which has a U.S. headquarters in Westport, CT, has opened a Child Friendly Space in the Reed Intermediate School in Newtown. Save the Children developed these kind of Child Friendly Spaces after decades spent protecting, counseling and helping to heal children in crises around the globe. Children are offered a chance to play, socialize and begin to recover while their parents get counseling, support and other services. To learn more about such spaces, Save the Children offers a factsheet here. Donations can be made here.
Additionally, Isabel Almeida, of the United Way of Western Connecticut, says that the United Way, in partnership with the Newtown Savings Bank, has set up the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, to provide support services to those affected. Online donations can be made here.

"We are committed to providing support and resources where and when they become identified and needed," says United Way of Western Connecticut CEO Kim Morgan, in announcing the initiative.

An early responder in the field of local mental-health services is the Newtown Youth and Family Services, a licensed nonprofit mental-health clinic which has stayed open for grief counseling all weekend, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Donations can be made to Newtown Youth and Family Serives here.

The Red Cross also has about 50 workers on the ground in Connecticut, many of them mental-health workers. It has opened an emergency grief-counseling center and has provided 50 units of blood to Danbury Hospital, where many of the victims were treated. The Red Cross is also providing food and water to first responders and others. Donation information and details about the Red Cross's efforts in Newtown can be found here.