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Columbine Survivors On A Mission To Help Newtown Community Heal

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LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)- Some survivors of the Columbine High School shooting are on a mission to help the community of Newtown, Conn. heal after last week’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The group hopes to provide some comfort to those who survived the shooting which left 26 dead, including 20 children.

The group called “Phoenix 999″ is collecting stuffed animals. The furry creatures of comfort are arriving by the box load to a home in Littleton.

“People have been dropping them off left and right here,” said Phoenix 999 member Zach Cartaya. “We were really impacted by this and I think that’s why we’re really motivated to move as much and as fast as we can.”

The group formed with survivors of the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999 which left 12 students and one teacher dead. The gunmen, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, also were killed.

“I always feel like I’m that 17-year-old that just walked out of the school. I was trapped inside the school for five hours,” said Cartaya.

After the shooting these students received teddy bears from people across the U.S. They said they have kept them to this day.

“Obviously it was a big impact for everybody in Columbine so our hope is to let the folks out at Sandy Hook know that they’re not alone,” said Phoenix 999 member Stephen Houck. “We received all these things and it’s been very comforting, years and years after the fact.”

The Columbine survivors hope it the gesture will bring them a little bit of comfort in a time of grief and healing.

“It represents hope and it represents the fact that we’re there. We’re going to support them, we know what they’re going through and we know and we want them to know that our community is there to support their community,” said Cartaya.

So far the group has collected about 800 stuffed animals. They’re hoping to receive at least 1,500 before they’re sent to Newtown, Conn.

Each of the bears will have a message from one of the Columbine survivors.

LINK: phoenix999.org

MORE FROM CBSNEWYORK.COM: Newtown Shooting Coverage

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