The United Way of Delaware and the Delaware Community Foundation has begun conducting "Operation Snowflake" statewide in support of the Sandy Hook Elementary School community's attempt to rebuild after the massacre of 20 students and six staff members at the Connecticut school in mid December.
In response to people across America wanting to do something, the Sandy Hook Elementary PTA requested the snowflakes to decorate and create a winter wonderland at the new school that Sandy Hook students will be relocating to Thursday.
United Way and the Delaware Community Foundation then worked with community partners to set up snowflake drop off locations in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties, United Way Assistant Director of Community Relations Deborah Armstrong said. The nonprofits worked with the Downtown Dover Partnership and State Rep.-elect Andria Bennett (D-Dover) to set up the Kent County location at an empty storefront at 24 W. Loockerman St. in downtown Dover.
Wednesday marked the second day for collection in Kent County, organizers said.
The collection continues from Thursday through Saturday, with organizers hoping for a big turnout for the Downtown Dover Partnership's First Friday event that aims to bring people downtown to patronize local merchants, Armstrong said.
Among those coming in to Operation Snowflake's Dover location on Wednesday were St. John Lutheran School third grader Hannah Kasten and her mother, Julie Kasten, of Dover. Hannah Kasten, 9, was still enjoying Christmas vacation before going back to school on Thursday and did not mind spending some of her free time participating in "Operation Snowflake."
Hannah had been looking for something to do to help ever since the tragedy occurred, Julie Kasten said.
"Her school did a little tribute at the end of their Christmas program for the children and faculty killed at Sandy Hook," she said. "Hannah wanted to do something more. We heard about this from her grandma, who works at Caesar Rodney High School."
On Wednesday, Hannah Kasten crafted five snowflakes with plenty of glitter glue for the cause.
"I thought it was really fun and when I was doing it I kept thinking about all the good I was doing," she said. "So, I'm glad I finally got to help."
Armstrong hoped to collect 2,013 snowflakes in honor of New Year's.
"We'll make 2,013 one way or another," she said. "But it's really to encourage everyone to take part, whether it's through one snowflake that they bring or ten."
OPERATION SNOWFLAKE LOCATIONS IN DELAWARE
New Castle County:
Delaware Children's Museum, the Riverfront, Wilmington, 9 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
24 West Lockerman Street, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Page 2 of 2 - Sussex County:
Seaford Area Activity Center and Drop Off Location, Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
Laurel Area Drop Off Location, Laurel Boys and Girls Club, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday.