YOUR MONEY-How to help Newtown school shooting families

Washington, D.C. Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:09pm EST

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Washington, D.C. Dec 17 (Reuters) - It's easy, after an earthquake or a hurricane, to show that you care. You can send drywall and diapers, or at least money to buy them, and ease the pain of fellow citizens in the path of destruction.

But when people are dealing with child-killing horror, as they are following the Friday school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, it's harder to help your neighbor. The houses of the afflicted are still standing; they still have their jobs and their infrastructure; it is their hearts that are broken.

You still can help.

Local counseling services are working overtime; families must still pay bills while they take days off work to arrange the unthinkable -- funerals for their young children. Many families of the victims are already thinking of starting memorial funds in their children's names to provide scholarships and meet other needs when the immediate crisis has passed.

But remember that in the wake of tragedy come many good acts and a few scams. So donate through long-standing and well-known organizations or wait long enough to check the bona fides of a new one.

Here are some ways you can contribute.

-- My Sandy Hook Family Fund (here)

Set up by the parents of children who survived and other locals, this fund will help with funerals, as well as ongoing living expenses such as food, mortgage payments, daycare, insurance and fuel until they are back on solid ground.

-- Newtown Memorial Fund (here)

A new fund founded by Brian Mauriello, who describes himself as a long-term Newtown resident and a parent, to pay for short-term expenses as well as a memorial and a multi-generational foundation fund for the Newtown, Connecticut, community. He is seeking board members.

-- Sandy Hook School Support Fund (newtown.uwwesternct.org/); c/o Newtown Savings Bank 39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470

This fund was set up by United Way of Western Connecticut and the Newtown Savings Bank to provide support services to the affected families and community. Among other efforts, it will support day and night walk-in hours at the Newtown Youth and Family Services Counseling Center

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