Reporting Nick Janes
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LINCOLN (CBS13) – A local effort is picking up steam to send help to suffering sandy hook students, and it was started by a 10-year-old girl.
Drop boxes are set up around the Sacramento area, but in just two days, Whitney Stettler’s idea to help the children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., has reached thousands across the state and even across the country.
“I love this kid. She’s amazing. She’s shy and amazing,” said Whitney’s mother Tracey as Whitney hid in her embrace Tuesday night.
At 10 years old, Whitney’s actions speak far louder than her words. Overcome with sadness after the Sandy Hook shooting that killed 20 young children, Whitney decided she had to do something to help the students cope.
“”I just thought, you know, they could use a little bit of cheering up, so I just thought of teddy bears, because you know it’s always something good to hold when you’re sad,” Whitney said.
What started with humble beginnings is growing into a nationwide movement. Whitney and her mom made fliers and a Facebook page Sunday night at their Lincoln home. In a few days, the page has 6,400 shares. One post reads “sent a donation with love from Colorado.”
“People in Oklahoma are working on this with her,” Tracey said. “Arizona’s sending teddy bears tomorrow.”
Whitney wants the kids in Newtown to know that people care about what they’re going through.
“When I was so sad before it kind of picked myself up a little bit,” she said. “Hopefully, it’ll do the same to them.”
This inspiring outpouring of support has her dreaming big. Whitney’s goal of 600 teddy bears seems well within reach.
“She’s going to bring happiness to other people and that’s something you can try to teach, but it doesn’t always happen,” she said.
Whitney is hoping for new or gently used teddy bears and hopes to send them all off after the new year, so the kids at Sandy Hook have them when they return to school after winter break.
It’s a little bit of love being sent from Northern California.
Teddy bears can be dropped off at the Del Webb community on Langtree Drive in Roseville, the Del Webb community on Westminster Way in Elk Grove or at the Antigravity School of Dance in Roseville through Jan. 3.