After listening to reports of people from across the country reaching out to those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Linda Antignani noticed one group she didn't feel was getting enough help -- police officers.
So, Antignani, owner of Mother's Embrace Yoga studio in Shelton, is lending a hand.
From Wednesday until Feb. 28, Antignani is collecting donations to buy Walmart gift cards for Newtown police officers to help buy food for their families.
Antignani said she decided to get involved after reading media reports that many Newtown police officers who responded to the shooting were so traumatized by the experience they've been unable to work. Twenty first-graders and six staff members were killed at the school Dec. 14.
Although many of those officers have been using sick days, a union representative said there is a danger they could soon be going without a paycheck.
"That really struck me," Antignani said. "Many of these officers are fathers of young children."
Even before the Newtown tragedy, Antignani said she was touched by the plight of police officers. Many of her students work in law enforcement and she respects the work they do on a daily basis.
"They quietly take care of us and only expect their paycheck in return," she said. "It's time we take care of them."
So, Antignani reached out to one of her students, a police officer in Norwalk, and asked how she could help.
"My thought was to provide, not money, but food," Antignani said.
The student spoke with a liaison for the Newtown police, who will identify the officers in the most need and distribute the gift cards.
Antignani is accepting donations of Walmart gift cards as well as money to buy more gift cards. She's already set up a website, www.meyoga.net, with a PayPal button so people can donate safely.
Those interested in donating can also contact Antignani at 203-414-2607 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Antignani said she's already gotten a few donations, and hopes with increased word of mouth, she'll get even more.
"I really feel that I need to do something," she said.
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