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Update: Outreach to Newtown, Connecticut

Posted: December 17, 2012

Acts of violence against innocent people defy logic and prompt questions that are not easily answered. The tragic act that shattered the peace of Newtown, Conn., was particularly inexplicable because so many of those who lost their lives were in the flower of their youth with their lives ahead of them.

To say that we are deeply saddened by the tragedy in Connecticut does not begin to express our feelings about this horrific event. Our thoughts are with the families and all who have been and will be touched by this terrible act. We know our members in Connecticut, particularly those in the Newtown area, have become personally involved with this tragedy by supporting families during their time of grief.

On Monday, December 17, NFDA received an update from the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA), which is the association leading the response effort:

  • CFDA has received numerous offers of assistance and support from funeral directors and embalmers. Calls and emails have come in from throughout the United States and around the world.
  • CFDA has been gratified by the many suppliers that have stepped forward to donate goods and services to the funeral homes serving the families.
  • The CFDA board of directors met over the weekend and has organized teams of Connecticut funeral directors and embalmers who will lend their assistance to the 10 funeral homes that are serving the families. The number of volunteers numbers more than 100.

NFDA's Role

On Friday, NFDA reached out to the CFDA, extending our support to funeral directors in the area who will be helping the families of those who died. We have forwarded a supply of grief materials to the CFDA for use by area funeral homes and Sandy Hook Elementary School. We hope these materials will assist funeral directors in helping their families during this unfathomably difficult time.

This week, and in the weeks to come, NFDA will do whatever it can to support the funeral directors who are heroically caring for the families of those who died. We understand these funeral directors are serving their friends and neighbors; people they see at church and in the grocery store. Even though they are trying to process their own grief and sadness over what has transpired in their community, they must instead focus on what they do every single day – help families say goodbye to their loved ones in a meaningful way.

NFDA will be staying in close contact with CFDA to discern other ways to be of assistance. We will continue to keep you updated on our efforts.

What Can You Do To Help?

The instinct to help in times like this is natural. At this time, CFDA has not requested any additional volunteer assistance. Should their needs change, NFDA will notify you.

The Connecticut Funeral Directors Association has established an account with Liberty Bank to aid the families of the Newtown shooting with funeral and related expenses. NFDA has made a $5,000 contribution to this victims' assistance fund; the Funeral Service Foundation has also donated $5,000. Contributions may be sent to:

"CFDA Newtown Support Fund"
C/O Liberty Bank
171 Silas Deane Highway
Wethersfield, CT 06109
Attn: Ben Floren, Liberty Bank

The Funeral Service Foundation also established an assistance fund to support the needs of victims, funeral directors and the community of Newtown. Please visit the Foundation website (www.funeralservicefoundation.org) early tomorrow (Tuesday, December 18) and look for a button that will take you to information about how to contribute.

Finally, as you continue to think of and pray for the victims and their families, please also include your fellow funeral directors. They have likely never faced something like this and we hope they never will again. Children's funerals are never easy. When children die under such unimaginable circumstances, such as what happened in Newtown, the task of serving the families and helping them begin to say goodbye is all the more difficult.

Thank you for the care and compassion you demonstrate to families and your community in their times of need. We are proud to be the association that represents you.

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