OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego criminal justice faculty member Jaclyn Schildkraut is once again coordinating an effort to send thousands of holiday cards to children impacted by mass shootings, including those in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs and Parkland.
“In just three days, we already have more than 2,100 cards pledged … surpassing the number of cards we sent out last year!” Schildkraut posted on Facebook on Nov. 27.
In 2017, Schildkraut’s friends, students and even complete strangers banded together to send 2,036 cards in a similar effort.
“Cards will be sent to kids who lost loved ones in recent mass shootings to make their holidays a little brighter,” explained Schildkraut, an author and internationally quoted expert on mass shootings.
The effort began last year when Schildkraut wanted to bring some relief to children who lost parents in the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 and injured another 546. She would later add those impacted by a mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas which killed 26 and injured 20 on Nov. 5, 2017.
This year, the project also will include children who lost siblings and parents in the Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and staff members while injuring 17 others.
“You can do as many or as few as you would like — every little bit of love helps,” Schildkraut said.
The goal is to have all cards sent to Schildkraut by Dec. 17 to make the Dec. 20 postal deadline.
For Schildkraut, the topic is not just one of academic interest, but is personal. She used to live in Orlando, so the shooting at the Pulse nightclub hit close to home, as did Parkland, the area where she grew up — although every such incident brings her sadness as well as media requests.
Schildkraut is the author of two books with a third forthcoming: “Columbine: 20 Years and Beyond: Lessons from Tragedy,” set for January 2019 release, will focus on the victims and community impacted by that momentous shooting and the long-range effects of it, with proceeds benefiting the Columbine Memorial.
“For me, it’s always about giving back, and in this season, the cards project not only shows people that we care, but brings so many friends and strangers together in doing something good,” Schildkraut said.
For more information on how to help, email [email protected]