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Acts Of Kindness: From Orono, To Newtown

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As expected, it’s still too hard for Joann Bacon to open up to the press about her daughter who was murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Her brother, Paul Hagen of Minneapolis, says it’s a slow healing process.

“It’s tough for her. They’re dealing with it day-by-day,” Hagen said.

It’s been more than a month since the Newtown shootings. Six-year-old Charlotte Bacon was one of the 20 first graders killed that day. Her mom, Joann, still has strong connections to her hometown of Orono.

Last week, a friend of the Bacon’s launched a non-profit in Charlotte’s honor called Newtown Kindness. Its website already had 100,000 hits.

“This is about kindness, trying to do something more within the community [to] help the people of Newtown instead of just another fund to send money,” said Hagen. “This is kind of a win-win situation.”

The idea is simple: when a child does something nice for someone else, they share it with Newtown Kindness by email, mail, photo or artwork. Newtown parent Aaron Carlson came up with the idea. His six-year-old daughter was friends with Charlotte.

“Every day people are reaching out to us saying thank you because it gives them a way to feel like they can make an impact or they can connect with the tragedy and support it,” said Carlson.

Already, submissions have been coming in. Six-year-old Lila collected pancake mix for the local food bank. Abby, Hannah and Hannah baked cookies from scratch for the therapy dogs at their school. Five-year-old Jack baked cookies and brownies for his heroes – the local fireman. And one little girl drew a swing, slide and see-saw for her friends because she thought it would make her smile.

On Charlotte’s birthday, Feb. 22, winners will be chosen to receive a prize or reward.

“No deed is too small,” Hagen said. “Sometimes it’s just a smile at somebody walking through the door.”

To submit your act of kindness, visit the Newtown Kindness website. A $5 donation is suggested.

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