After the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Lynn Samperi wanted to do something. She and her husband Gary always celebrate the Christmas season by working as Santa and Mrs. Claus, and she wanted to bring some holiday joy to the children of Newtown.
With the help of Newtown Patch and town officials, a party was quickly organized and set for Saturday Dec. 22 at The Youth Academy. As word spread, donations poured in, .
"It was simply incredible," Lynn wrote in an email to Patch after the party. "So many people. Many shared some difficult stories, several collapsed in our arms. Children and adults made ornaments, edible snowmen and candy necklaces. There were 15 carolers from the Green Farms School that were sensational.
"The spirit was so strong. Everyone received a Santa hat, guardian angel pin, green ribbon and multiple teddy bears. It was so much more than I could expect. Lobster Craft stayed all day and supplied 1,000+ hotdogs to the crowds. Mr. and Mrs. Claus were very busy dancing and singing. We hugged so many people.
"After we left we were contacted by all the volunteers who are now changed forever. It was the single best experience of our lives and for a few hours Newtown was smiling again."
[Editor's note: This article was originally posted on Dec. 24. The publication date was changed for layout purposes.]