Two Connecticut natives, who now call metro Atlanta home, are reaching out to help the children affected by the Newtown, CT, school shooting.
They felt compelled to do something.
"Teddy bears. What child, what adult, doesn't like teddy bears?" Cindy Pitts said.
Pitts and Nina Sonsini decided to start collecting teddy bears for the students who attend Sandy Hook Elementary.
"Something for them to come back to, something for them to have and hold, something comforting soft and familiar. Teddy bears are great that way," Sonsini said.
It didn't take long for their idea to catch on. People started dropping off bears at Sonsini's Then Again Consignment store in Smyrna.
"I have kids and I understand. Well, I don't understand what they're going through, but I can only imagine it's horrible. If a little teddy bear will bring a smile to a child's face, it's well worth it," mom Susan Wentker said.
Pitts set up what she calls her teddy bear tent outside her house, where neighbors, even strangers, can drop off a bear. She has a designated teddy bear room inside the house and has boxes of bears ready to ship.
"The neighbors coming by and stopping and bringing bags, and the little girl across the street, bringing her teddy bear. Everyone has been tremendous," Pitts said.
So tremendous, they surpassed their original goal of 450 teddy bears. Close to 1,000 bears have been donated.
"Everybody wants to feel like they're closer, like they can do something to comfort the families and comfort the children," Sonsini said.
It's like the note on one bear says, "To: Someone Special. From: Someone Who Cares." It's a sentiment the ladies hope the students feel when they hug their teddy bear.
People who wish to donate can drop off a bear at Then Again Consignments located at 3988 Atlanta Rd. through 6 p.m. on Thursday.
The women, along with volunteers from Sterling Engineering and Fabrication of Carrollton, will pack the bears Thursday night. The company will pay to ship the bears to Newtown.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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