As soon as Tara Nocera, co-owner of Products Salon on New Britain Road found out about the shooting in Newtown "My heart broke and I wanted to do anything I could to help. I knew I wanted to raise money or get people together, so I brought it to Stephanie's attention."
Nocera and Stephanie McLaughin own Products and on Jan. 18, along with friends, cam together to hold a fundraiser for Newtown. All of the proceeds from the cuts from women's and men's haircuts, manicures and waxes went to Newtown.
"Working the fundraiser was myself and Kate McCandless doing haircuts, Stephanie McLaughlin and her sister Dawn Tranter were doing nails, and Johnny the new barber at the salon was doing the men's cuts," Nocera said. "As well as the people doing the services, I had many friends help me. Craig Cugno and Nikki Campanelli were there all day helping prepare, and a few other friends Davina Hernandez, Justina Targonski, Ali Eschner and Jackie Pentore had stopped by to help with anything we needed. Nikki's parents Beth and Pete Campanelli donated $100 and supplied coffee and some desserts. I was very thankful for everyone who helped, big or small- they took time out of their day and didn't need to."
While Newtown has said stop sending toys and bears as the town has been overwhelmed, Nocera and McLaughlin have a direct contact who will take care of the contribution.
"Stephanie and I know a third grade teacher at Sandy Hook who we are sending the money to, so that it goes directly to them for whatever they need," Nocera said.
Nocera said the feeling of raising the money filled her heart.
"I felt extreme happiness after it was all over, I couldn't believe that we raised $1,000 in a short three hours with only two weeks of planning," she said. "After counting the money Stephanie and I got chills and just hugged each other. We got emotional because we were so happy, but also so sad that something like this could ever happen.
"We both felt great though. I wish more people took time out of their schedule to stop down. People don't realize that even donating $5 to something can really help. It was nice to see everyone come together for such a great cause. It really makes me realize that with everything that's wrong in this world, there is still so much good."
Products is not new to rasing money for charitable organizations.
"This isn't the first time we have raised money for a cause," Nocera said. "Every October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we cover the salon in pink and donate on the behalf of my mother, Carmela Nocera, who was diagnosed five years ago. I love doing things like this. If I wasn't a hairdresser I would definitely work in the field of fundraising it's such a rewarding feeling. There will be many more events as long as we are in town."