Through the course of the week, Moorpark High School students have been contributing to a fund to buy and send teddy bears to students of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, CT, where last week's shooting took the lives of 26 people.
Moorpark High School senior—and soon to be University of Chicago freshman—Jason Bern first heard of Friday's tragedy at about 2:30 p.m. that day, when his father called him and let him know about it. About half an hour later, he saw a Facebook post by a former MHS student about a a fundraiser to buy and send teddy bears to the students at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Moorpark High graduates Chelsea Maccani and Rachel Axelrod, along with UCSB schoolmates Isabel Atkinson and Kate Maguire, started the Hugs for Sandy Hook fundraiser "in order to show solidarity with the victims of the recent tragedy in Newtown," they wrote on the donation website.
Bern, the school's Future Business Leaders of America president, was so impressed with the idea that first thing Monday morning, he and a friend, the president of the MHS chapter of the California Scholarship Federation, asked to meet with administrators to get support in collecting money for the cause at the school.
"I was as stricken with grief by Friday's events in Newton, CT as any other. Fortunately, I found a means of making use of myself, rather than simply expressing sorrow and failing to act on it," he said.
The clubs joined efforts and have staffed a table at the school where students can make donations. Bern reported things were slow going the first day, but have picked up as the week has gone on and more people have become aware of the efforts.
"There was quite a bit of interest from the students and they seem to catch on immediately," he said. "There's an obligation. There's a sense of a need to help."
Online, the project had raised $4,471 as of early Thursday morning. Organizers' goal is to raise $10,000 by the time the fundraiser ends on Friday.
Those wishing to contribute can make donations on the fundraiser webpage at http://www.indiegogo.com/HugsforSandyHook.