NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Katie Holmstead and other members of a New Canaan church are sending the love of angels to the family of one of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting .
Members of the New Canaan Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have covered Christmas trees in angels in honor of Emilie Parker, 6. The church members collected angel ornaments, both store-bought and handmade, from hundreds of people to be placed on the special trees.
“We were thinking about what we could do to help the Parkers. I think everyone wants to help,” said Holmstead, who credits her friend Kristina Larson with coming up with the idea. “This seemed like such a simple way to help.”
First-grader Emilie Parker was one of the 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary killed last Friday when a gunman entered the school and attacked students and staff. Six adult staff members were killed.
The church's effort sprung from emails among friends in New Canaan and the surrounding area, but momentum gathered and word spread elsewhere. “People have shipped angels from California, from Utah. They’ve been shipping them from Boston,” Holmstead said.
Two of the trees will be taken to Newtown, including one to the Mormon chapel where the Parker family worships. Other angel ornaments will be shipped to Utah, where Emilie will be buried, to be used on a third angel tree. Many of the angels are from children, Holmstead said.
Decorating the trees has been good for church members hurt by the Newtown tragedy. “To me, this is what Christmas is all about,” she said.