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Newtown receives an outpouring of healing gifts

7:56 AM, Dec 20, 2012   |    comments
A man places a plush Santa at a makeshift memorial for Sandy Hook shooting victims on Wednesday in Newtown, Conn.(Photo: John Moore, Getty Images)
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NEWTOWN, Conn. -- When Ed Martino told one of his customers at Carminuccio's that her five pizzas were free, she broke into tears.

His popular restaurant has become one of the focal points as people try to soothe the pain of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting Friday with small gifts of kindness. He said people have donated more than $5,000 to buy meals for Newtown residents affected by their town's tragedy. People have been eating free at Carminuccio's for two days.

The woman who ordered the pizza was so moved, Martino said, because she was minding 12 children at her house while their parents attended funerals for the shooting victims.

In honor of the 20 children and six school staffers who died, people nationwide have pledged on Twitter to perform random acts of kindness.

Ann Curry of NBC News took the idea viral when she tweeted, "Imagine if all of us committed to 20 mitvahs/acts of kindness to honor each child lost in Newtown. I'm in. If you are RT #20Acts."

The movement quickly turned into #26Acts and became a national action. Reports on Twitter show that they are buying coffee for strangers, shoveling snow from a neighbor's walk, thanking long-ago teachers and sharing meals.

"It's nice. It's not all bad," Martino said. "There still are good people."

Meanwhile, gifts of all kinds have been pouring into Newtown. Assessor Chris Kelsey said the town was bringing in four shipping containers to hold them all. The donations are being directed to a Newtown Parks and Recreation building, Kelsey said. The state police and a bomb squad are there to make sure everything is safe, he said.

"It's somewhat overwhelming, the stuff that has been coming in," Kelsey said -- anything from toys and school supplies to offers to build carousels and skating rinks. The town will distribute the toys to Newtown children from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the town hall gym.

Things designated for the 26 victims' families are set aside for them, he said.

Some gifts are services meant to heal.

USA Today

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