Town Heals and Remembers

Neighbors Raise Funds for Victims’ Families

By Josh Chapin
|  Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012  |  Updated 7:32 AM EDT
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Rob and Debora Accomando set up a fund to help the victim's families help pay for funeral costs, as well as everyday expenses while they mourn their loss.

Rob and Debora Accomando set up a fund to help the victim's families help pay for funeral costs, as well as everyday expenses while they mourn their loss.

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Debora and Rob Accomando’s sons don't go to Sandy Hook Elementary, buy they live in the tight-knit community of Newtown and wanted to do something to help.

The family knows some of victims' families, including their family of Jack Pinto, because the boys were on the same wrestling team. They wanted to do something other than cry and spent all day Saturday cooking to provide something for those affected, but realized they could do something even bigger by raising money.

“There are so many parents here of children who survived who are desperately shattered,” Rob Accomando said. "What are people going through? What is going to happen when the cameras finally leave and the spotlight fades?" Accomando asked.

As Debora and Rob sat at their dining room table, they realized that all 26 families would need money and they launched the My Sandy Hook Family Fund through a Web site that lets you start a donation page.

After posting it on Facebook, they raised $4,000 in the first few hours, then $11,000 a few hours after that. Rob has received nearly 2,500 email donations so far.

"This isn't some big charity organization. This is old school," Accomando said, likening his effort to a grassroots movement. "Neighbor to neighbor. Folks who are in the know. People who are going to be there when the cameras are gone and lights are out."

Their goal is $2.6 million, which would be $100,000 to each of the 26 families.

On the day Rob created the site, he reached out to some major accounting firms, including Deloitte & Touche and KPMG, not only to ensure legitimacy but also so the Accomandos could focus on helping families with things like funeral clothing.

"We just have the ability to do something unique because we're here," Rob said.
 

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