On Friday, 13-year-old Allison Anderson could only think of her three young siblings while learning the news out of Newtown," according to her mother Camella Mollica.
When the family was discussing the tragedy, Allison's 6-year-old brother, Frankie Sanzo, said one of the brave little girls at Sandy Hook school "was like her own little superhero," Mollica said.
"The lightbulb went off," Mollica said.
Allison, a student at Silas Deane Middle School in Wethersfield, had planned to collect superhero capes for cancer patients at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. But after Friday, she shifted the focus of "Capes for Kids" and is now aiming to outfit the "superheroes" from Newtown.
"Every superhero needs a cape," Mollica said.
Mollica contacted Elizabeth Lynch Oates, chairwoman of the art department at Northwest Catholic High School, for help collecting capes. Initially, the project aimed to collect enough capes for the 525 students at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"In 24 hours, we had over 1,000 capes," Mollica said.
Students at Northwest Catholic have been emptying their pockets to donate to the cause, she said. Companies have been donating hundreds of capes – one contributed 10 toddler capes for younger siblings of victims, and another donated 100 adult capes for staff and faculty at Sandy Hook.
Someone has volunteered to sew angel wings on 20 capes in honor of the young victims, she said.
"We're at a point where there's a good possibility we'll be able to cover all of the elementary school students in Newtown … and at St. Rose of Lima school," Mollica said.
Mollica said she has spoken with a Newtown school board member and plans are coming together for a "Superhero Day" when Sandy Hook students return to school in Monroe, which is expected to be after Christmas break.
Capes can be dropped off at the main office of Northwest Catholic, 29 Wampanoag Drive, West Hartford, through Friday. Through Jan. 1, capes can be sent to Camie Mollica, 31 Cedar St., Wethersfield, CT 06109.
Monetary donations are also being accepted via PayPal to email@example.com.
For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/capesforkids.