MONROE -- Jeanne Malgioglio had to do something about the tragedy in Newtown. As a mother of two boys, as a teacher, as a human being.
She felt helpless and heartbroken. To relieve the stress of the past week, she picked up her knitting needles and started working on a hat intended as a Christmas gift. Then it hit her: scarves.
"I then picked up green and white yarn and started to knit a scarf for a friend's daughter, a student at Sandy Hook," said Malgioglio, who lives in Monroe and is a teacher at Madison Middle School in Trumbull.
The effort, to knit as many as 600 green and white scarves in 30 days, has mushroomed with the help of an open invitation on Facebook to include, at last count, 700 volunteers from 45 states and five countries. The outpouring is such that Malgioglio had to get a post office box to accept donations. The Monroe Post Office donated the box.
Some of the scarves, which are to all be kelly or shamrock green and white and between 40 and 50 inches long, will be presented to students at Sandy Hook. Others will go to school staff, families, first responders and others impacted by the tragedy.
Malgioglio said students at her school will help by bundling some of the scarves in groups of 25 and tying them with gold ribbons.
"When this unspeakable tragedy happened, we both felt so helpless," said Saunders. "We're both teachers and mothers of young children; I think we both just wanted to hug every child and teacher. Creating scarves was the closest thing we could do," said Saunders.
Some of those offering to help through the Facebook page have expressed thanks for having a way to help without intruding.
"It's just a way to help when you feel helpless," said Boland, who said her older sister taught her Sunday night how to knit so she could try her hand at it.
Malgioglio learned to knit 10 years ago. Left-handed, it was a struggle, but once got the hang of it, she found it relaxing.
She can whip out a scarf in a night or two. The corner of her living room is a repository for skeins of yarn of all colors. Most of it destined to become baby blankets or hats.
Those who wish to contribute scarves will find collection boxes in Monroe at St. Jude School, Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, Salon Sanctuary and Day Spa and Patience Pediatrics. Also, in Trumbull at St. Theresa's Church. Scarves can also be mailed to: Scarves for Sandy Hook, 500 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe, CT 06468. Knitters are invited to include a tag and message with their scarf indicating the town, state or country where it was made.
Questions can be sent to Jeanne Malgioglio at email@example.com.