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TMCNet:  Helping Newtown fund is right up Hamden business owners' alley

[January 21, 2013]

Helping Newtown fund is right up Hamden business owners' alley

HAMDEN, Jan 21, 2013 (New Haven Register - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Johnson's Duckpin Lanes will be holding a fundraiser in February for the Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Connecticut.

"When all of this took place in December, my heart broke, as did so many others. And I started thinking, what can I do " said Sandra Thomas, owner of Johnson's Duckpin Lanes.

Thomas decided to use her bowling alley to help. Throughout February, she is inviting people to call in and rent a lane for $30. The price includes one hour of bowling for up to five people, shoes included. Of that $30, $10 will be donated to the scholarship fund.

"Normally, that fee would be $38," Thomas said. "I just said, I need to cover my expenses and then I can just donate." The donation is not the only reason Thomas would like to see people come, though. She said an afternoon out at the bowling alley with the family is a perfect opportunity to reconnect with the kids. She said she wanted families to "rediscover each other as a family unit." "I think today's modern family can be so fragmented because of two working parents, day care, whatever," Thomas said. "Maybe I can get them in here for an hour. Let them bowl and talk to each other, see who beats who." Thomas said the tragedy in Newtown is a reminder for everyone to cherish those close to them. She said the parents who sent their children to school Dec. 14 had no idea they would not see their children again. "Spend time with the kids. Have fun," Thomas said.

Art Sorrentino, communications director at the UConn Foundation, the fundraising arm of UConn, said the Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund already has received about $800,000.

It's received more than 4,000 gifts so far, including $80,000 from the Orange Bowl Committee and $10 gifts from people donating through their cellphones (text UConn Newtown to 50555).

"A lot of people were looking for ways to show their support, to express their feelings in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Having individuals make contributions is wonderful," Sorrentino said.

"But in some cases, where people have access or the ability to do more -- whether it's through a local group or through their business -- it really all comes together to demonstrate the kind of reaction that this tragedy has elicited from people." ___ (c)2013 the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.) Visit the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.) at www.nhregister.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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