How You Can Help: Operation Snuggle Newtown

Help Patch show Newtown's children the world loves them: Drop off a new teddy bear at one of our many locations.

We all had the same reaction when we first heard the news of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook School in Newtown: shock and disbelief.

And then, when the reality set in that 20 children and six adults had indeed been murdered at the school by a gunman, we all again had the same feeling — 'What can I do to help?'

Patch Ad Manager Lindsay Braun wanted to do more than watch what was happening. On Friday night, less than 12 hours after the shootings, she sent this email to her colleagues across eastern Connecticut:

"Fellow Patch Team members, As many of you are probably feeling tonight, this senseless tragedy has made us all feel helpless. I want to do something for these poor families. I will be collecting stuffed animals for the children of Newtown over the next week. ... I want these children to have something to comfort them, and something to hug in the coming weeks as this all unfolds."

And so was born Operation Snuggle Newtown.

Even though Newtown is miles from most of the Patch towns in what we call eastern Connecticut, we are all united in our feelings about what happened. Newtown is Stonington; Newtown is Avon; Newtown is Vernon; Newtown is Durham. It could be any of us going through what the residents of Newtown are going through, and through the power of Patch we want to show those folks — and especially those children — that they are not alone.

Below is a list of local businesses that have agreed to be drop-off locations for Operation Snuggle Newtown. This week, if you can, drop off a new teddy bear at any of these businesses. If you'd like, please leave a card with your name and feel free to share your thoughts of condolence. We want to show Newtown that they are not alone. 

If you are a business and would like to be a drop-off point for Operation Snuggle Newtown, please leave your business name, street address and town in the comments and we will add you to the list.

Operation Snuggle Newtown Drop-Offs


  • Anytime Fitness, 2020 Norwich New London Tpk, Uncasville
  • Pennell's Auto Center, 341 Norwich New London Turnpike (Route 32), Uncasville

Old Saybrook

  • New England Alliance Mortgage- 44 Pond Road, #100 Old Saybrook
  • Saybrook Point Inn- 2 Bridge Road, Old Saybrook
  • SWAG- 117 Main Street, Old Saybrook
  • Apple Rehab- 1775 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook


  • The French Hen- 16 Main Street, Essex

North Branford

  • 9 Round Fitness-280 Branford Road, North Branford


  • ABC's Gymnastics Stars, 40 Industrial Park Road, Niantic 
  • Ardonn Boutique, 271 Main Street, Niantic
  • Anytime Fitness, 17 Liberty Way, Niantic
  • Barry's Cleaners, 79 Pennsylvania Avenue, Niantic
  • Gumdrops & Lollipops, 334 Main Street, Niantic
  • Main Street Grille,  252 Main Street, Niantic
  • Miss Nikki's 5,6,7,8 Dance, Midway Plaza, 170 Flanders Road, Niantic
  • CLT Photo, Midway Plaza, 170 Flanders Road, Niantic

East Lyme

  • Barry's Cleaner's,  308 Flanders Road, East Lyme
  • Best of Everything Country Gourmet, 214 Flanders Road, East Lyme
  • Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant, 22 Chesterfield Road, East Lyme


  • Angel Haven, Olde Mistick Village, 27 Coogan Blvd, Mystic (They will also donate 100 angel pins for the kids)
  • Bank Square Books, 53 West Main Street, Mystic (They will donate books too and will be asking for books in addition to bears.)
  • CMPS Marketing, 12 Roosevelt Avenue, Mystic 


  • Frogeez Frozen Yogurt - Crystal Mall Upper Level near Macys, Waterford
  • Ivy's Simply Homemade, 316 Boston Post Road, Waterford


  • Frogeez Frozen Yogurt, 985 East Poquonnock Road, (Big Y Plaza), Groton

Gales Ferry

  • i5 Teaching Network, 18 Hurlbutt Road, (at the Gales Ferry Community Center, Rear), Gales Ferry


  • Mel's Downtown Creamery, 37 West Broad Street, Pawcatuck

New London

  • Pinc! A Unique Boutique, 52 State Street, New London
  • Barry's Cleaners, 565 Colman Street, New London

Old Lyme

  • Salon Pure, 11 Halls Road, Old Lyme
  • All Pro Automotive, 147 Boston Post Rd. Old Lyme


  • Mr. D's, 50 N Main St.,Wallingford


  • Ryder's On Main, 467 W. Main St. Meriden
DisgruntledIn Clinton, this is not an issue of wealth. This is an initiative born out of the need to comfort children who are devastated by events you and I cannot possibly imagine. Their little lives are forever changed. Their innocence lost. These gifts from the heart are meant to give them something special to hang on to during this very difficult time of their lives. It also helps those of us who feel helpless a way to deliver hope and lift the human spirit. The fact that you took the time to look up the average household income in Newtown and write such a post makes me sad.
Tammy Williams December 17, 2012 at 10:29 PM
It is a wonderful, loving, and thoughtful idea and I will certainly contribute. I can not believe that anyone would be so heartless as to find fault with such a thing. How sad! Need? I think there is a lot of need in that community right now, especially with the children who have been through this. I have a six year old and my heart bleeds for these precious children and their families. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to show our love and compassion in some small way.
Karen Smith December 17, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Hi, we can also be a drop off point in Branford. We are in the plaza across the street from Lake Saltonstall. Our website for directions is www.mikeleonardfitness.com. Physical Fitness Lakeview Plaza 249 West Main Street Branford, CT 06405 203-488-5919 6:00am - 8:00pm It is very much appreciated that you are doing this despite the negativity of some people. Glad to help out even in a small way. Karen Smith karen@mikeleonardfitness.com
Elissa Bass December 18, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Thanks so much to all the businesses that have volunteered to be drop-off points. We are going to close this off now, 7:30 p.m. on Monday because we don't want it to become too big — please, drop off a teddy bear or other comforting stuffed friend at any of the amazing businesses that have come forward. We will update the article Tuesday or Wednesday with more information. And you have photos of your teddys, please post them to this article. Thank you everyone!
Karen Royce December 20, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Thank you Groton Patch for coming up with a idea that has let so many people in the neighboring towns express their compassion. It's equivalent to giving a soft , gentle hug to so many who have faced a harsh reality. It gave me, someone who has a grown child, an outlet to help and that has in turn helped me. Many many thanks.


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