New York group give free massages to Sandy Hook

This tub of candy was on the counter Wednesday at the Newtown General Store, paid for by a New Jersey man. The store, like many Newtown businesses, has received dozens of gifts since the Dec. 14 shooting that claimed 20 children and six adults. (Casey McNerthney/Hearst Newspapers)

A group from New York City has teamed with therapists from Southbury, Conn., to bring free massages, acupuncture and counselors to Newtown.

The effort is called the Sandy Hook Healing Project.

It began Dec. 21, but continues through with sessions Dec. 28 and 29. Organizers say appointments aren’t necessary, Newtown residents just need to arrive between 1 and 8 p.m. Friday or 10 and 6 p.m. Saturday at 3 Simm Lane.

Reiki practitioners also will be available for adults and children.

Newtown has become overwhelmed with donations. Officials have asked that people stop sending gifts because they can no longer handle the donations. The United Way fund for Newtown has topped $3.5 million through Wednesday – up from $2.8 million Saturday. City officials also told an editor at The Newtown Bee that there are warehouse full of donations.

At the Newtown General Store, coffee has been free for nearly two weeks. Wednesday it was provided with funds sent from Helen Lewis of Oregon, Ben Jordan of New York State and a family in Springfield, Mass. Last week, the Floor Supply and Equipment Company of Gardena, Calif. paid for the java, and several others have called with donations.

Last week on the store’s front counter, a box of Hershey’s bars were provided by Beth Schulman, a woman from Piedmont, N.C. Wednesday afternoon, the tub of candy was paid for by Frank Bielawski of Woodbridge, N.J.

“Everybody wants to do something,” West Hartford resident Mike Henderson said, “but nobody knows what to do.”

He and his kids drove to Newtown on Christmas Eve to place a support banner of hand prints in front of Edmond Town Hall off Main Street. Their act – and the hundreds of donations that continued after Christmas – show that even two weeks after 26 people were killed, Newtown isn’t out of the American conscious.

It also raises the questions of when and how to move on.

Many residents have said it’s time for the massive memorial that’s a short walk from the school to come down. Traffic to the area has been congested since the shooting, and some have said the continued mourning keeps them from moving forward.

First Selectwoman Pat Llodra told The Newtown Bee that at some point this week the memorial would be process into a permanent remembrance.

Questions linger about whether the school building would be torn down, and some Newtown parents also say moving forward in that building would be too difficult.

Pauline Boss, a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota who specializes in grief therapy, told The Associated Press that memorials are an important part of helping communities grieve after tragedies.

But “it’s not a terrible thing,” she told the AP, “to let others know that now is the time for some privacy.”

Casey McNerthney can be reached at Follow Casey on Twitter at

Casey McNerthney