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Olivet College student sells T-shirts to honor Sandy Hook victims
Jan 17, 2013

Stunned by the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., Olivet College senior Patty Groh, of Lansing, felt compelled to do something to help. So she designed a T-shirt honoring 26 of the victims – six women, 12 girls, eight boys – which she began selling on Facebook. That was one month ago today. The project has now raised more than $4,000 for the Sandy Hook Support Fund administered by the United Way of Western Connecticut, with orders coming in from 38 different states. Patty hopes to raise $5,000 by Feb. 22, the final day to purchase a T-shirt.

“On the Monday after it happened people were wearing green and white, Sandy Hook’s school colors,” Groh said. “But I wanted to do more to honor the victims, so I designed a T-shirt for myself and put their names on the back.”

Patty got the idea to sell the shirts as a fundraising project after several of her friends requested a tee of their own. “I said, ‘I guess this is what we’re going to do,’ and it just took off,” she commented. Her Facebook page, “Sandy Hook T-shirts,” went viral and is now nearing 1,000 “likes.” Sports Stop in Mason is making the tees at cost, so half of every $10 shirt will go to the victims.

The fundraiser has drawn the support of several businesses and organizations across the nation, with some ordering 100 or more tees. Olivet College’s Student Government Association got involved as well, with students placing orders and helping Patty sell the shirts in the community.

Olivet College also serves as Patty’s non-profit sponsor for remembrance activities. She recently organized a candlelight vigil for the victims in Mason, at which she raised $360 through T-shirt sales.

“This whole process has been sobering,” Patty said. “You feel so devastated after what happened, and you don’t know what to do and you’re feeling negative about the world in general. I started this and I didn’t do much advocating at first. It’s been really cool to watch everybody come together and care so deeply about this cause, just because they believed in a college kid on Facebook.”

The final day to purchase a T-shirt is Friday, Feb. 22. To order, visit http://sandyhooktshirts.com or www.facebook.com/SandyHookTShirts.


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