Sorting

"More Love Than Hate" volunteers sort through the pile of doanted toys in the Wahoo Middle School Library on the evening of Dec. 20. The toys, along with blankets and messages of support, are being delivered to the families of Newtown, Conn. and Sandy Hool Elementary. (Staff Photo by Lisa Brichaek)

WAHOO – Support from Nebraska has arrived in Connecticut.

The three Wahoo men transporting toys, blankets, cards and other tokens of support for the children and families at Sandy Hook Elementary have arrived.

Jason Stevens, Dave Privett and John Sutton left Wahoo on Friday morning. In tow, they had a trailer loaded with items donated for the families of Newtown, Conn.

Stevens, who helped to coordinate the drive, said the amount of items collected was nothing short of “awesome.”

Stevens and Privett came up with the idea for “There is More Love than Hate” soon after the Dec. 7 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. that left 27 people dead, including 20 students at the school.

Privett, a staff member at Wahoo Public Schools, said the thought was to offer some comfort from strangers

“It was a stranger who came into their school and did this and we wanted to show there were also strangers out there that did care,” he said.

Stevens, a former Wahoo Public High School teacher who now teaches at Millard South, said they were initially concerned if they could get enough toys, blankets and cards to even fill small trailer.

“We knew we had a quick turn around time,” Stevens said.

But when the men left on their 24-hour tourney to Connecticut, they had a large trailer stuffed completely full.

In addition to the collection site at the Wahoo Middle School, other sites were also set up in Omaha and Lincoln. Stevens said schools in Omaha, Bellevue, David City and Fremont also added to the collection.

“The response was bigger than what anybody thought,” Privett added.

Their arrival in the Newtown area on Saturday was a bit of a relief for the organizers. Not only were they following in the footsteps of the recent winter storm, they also had a plan once they arrived.

“We started this without knowing what we were going to do on the other end,” Stevens stated about the project’s first days.

But distribution of the items in Connecticut is being added by a Wahoo native.

Stevens said once people heard about the “There is More Love than Hate” campaign, it became known that 1977 Wahoo High School graduate Nancy Yarmon Tortora lives nearby the Sandy Hook community.

Working through her church, Tortora was able to work out a distribution system.

Privett is providing update on the trip and the journey home on http://www.facebook.com/ThereIsMoreLoveThanHate

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