Bridgewater Couple Brings Love, Toys to Grieving Newtown

Robert and Lucrecia Young drove to Connecticut Saturday with a goal to just give back.

CENTRAL JERSEY -- A local couple saw the kindness of strangers in January when people donated clothes and other items to them after their house burned to the ground from a fireplace fire—and now in the wake of the , they are just trying to pay it forward.

“I woke up Saturday morning with tears in my eyes,” Robert Young, of Bridgewater, said. “I turned to my wife in bed, and said, ‘Let’s go.’ She asked where, and I said we’re going to Newtown because we have to do something to help.”

Young and his wife, Lucrecia Young, headed out on the drive to Connecticut, planning to do whatever they could to help those devastated after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

On the way, Young enlisted the help of some others looking to donate what they could.

“I was hungry on the way, so I stopped in Burger King in Pluckemin,” he said. “I asked the fellow there, by chance since I was going to a disaster scene, would they have anything I could take with me to give to the people.”

Young walked out of the restaurant with two large bags of fresh hamburger rolls, and a big bag of the plastic toys they give out with children’s meals.

Then, Young said, he needed to get a little cash, so he headed over to the Bank of America in Pluckemin—and walked out with even more for the kids.

“They had a big bowl of lollipops and I asked the manager,” he said. “He filled a big plastic bag with lollipops for me.”

Young said he took all of those items, and he and his wife headed up to Newtown.

“I was going out that afternoon to give those people a big hug,” he said.

When they arrived in Newtown, Young and his wife visited the local counseling center.

“The Red Cross is there, and the woman said it must have been a blessing because someone dropped off hamburger patties, but they had no rolls,” he said. “I said, ‘Here, God brought you your rolls.’”

In the counseling center, where parents were gathered with their children, Young gave out the toys from Burger King, and stayed with the children as they sat and colored.

Young said after going through his own tragedy earlier this year, he had to figure out a way to help others in this tough time.

In January, Young said he had a fire going at his home on Route 206 near Foothill Road inside the fireplace and it caught sparks through the flue in the attic. In minutes, he said, it was a six-alarm blaze that burned the house to the ground.

Friends and other residents, Young said, helped them by giving free clothing and furniture while he and his wife moved into a rental home on Milltown Road during the reconstruction of their house, which is now nearing completion.

Young said he was touched by the support he received during that difficult time, and just wanted to find a way to give back.

“Because we went through a tragedy, I had to go up there and do something,” he said. “I tried to figure out a way I could touch people.”

That, Young said, involved just showing people he cared.

In his Jeep, he said he had an easel, and he made a sign that read, “Bridgewater, NJ Love and Sympathy.”

“I stood on a major intersection corridor with my sign,” he said. “I wanted people up there to know that people from other states were thinking about them.”

He noticed as people stopped in the intersection at the traffic light they would read the sign, and many burst into tears.

“I felt that I got to them,” he said. “They felt that somebody is here.”

“I stayed there for an hour-and-a-half, and I cried my eyes out, too,” he added.

As he and his wife left the area, Young said, they stopped at a local diner for a meal, and some of the people who had seen him standing on the side of the road came up to thank them.

“They thanked us for coming up from New Jersey,” he said. “Those people need that right now.”

Young said he believes it is important to show the residents of Newtown they have the support of people from all over.

“We are letting them see, with out-of-staters coming, that we’re all one,” he said. “We’re all individuals, but we are all one no matter what religion, color, we all come from the same place somewhere.”

And Young—who has a 47-year-old daughter, a 27-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son—said he understands this tragedy could happen anywhere.

“We thought, this could happen in Bridgewater,” he said. “It doesn’t always happen in other areas or to other people.”

Now, Young said, he is trying to figure out what else he can do.

First, Young spent a little time outside his almost completely rebuilt home on Route 206 Monday, holding the same sign in front of a shrine he put together with a poinsettia plant and the images of those who were killed Friday.

“And I held a big cardboard sign that says, ‘Hug Your Kids,’” he said.

But, Young wants to do more, and is considering driving back up to Connecticut Tuesday, or at some point when he can find something else to bring to the grieving people there.

“I feel we did good,” he said. “I just wish I could have done more. I am trying now to think of what we can do if we go up there again.”

Susan December 18, 2012 at 06:44 PM
My heart grieves for the parents that lost their sweet little precious children in that awful act of EVIL .... but, who is crying for the babies that are aborted everyday? It's not political .. it's a fact! Why aren't people rising up on the behalf of those little ones and saying these senseless deaths have got to STOP! ... Every child is a precious child of GOD .. even the unborn ones! Grieve for all children that have lost "LIFE", even those that didn't get a "LIFE"!
Kirk Hastings December 18, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Robert, I know exactly how you and your wife feel. We live in southern New Jersey, and I wish there was some way we could go up to Newtown and hug every one of the parents that lost their children. Thank you for your efforts, and I hope your new home is finished soon.
Edwin Morris December 18, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Robert, God bless you and keep you safe in your endeavors to help. San Antonio, TX also feels the pain and offers prayers for the families and you.
Janie Thomas December 18, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Corrine: I am with you I live in California the bay area. I will do whatever I can to get the word to Toy R'Us. Maybe a group of people can actually deliver food and gifts on Christmas day would be awesome, and just give them as many hugs as possible. God Bless All!!!!
Linda December 18, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Mr Young God Bless you. We all sit in our homes and want to do something but you did. I personally think cash for the families to bury their loved ones would be the most helpful at this time. Most people don't have insurance policies for their children.
Deb December 18, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Rob, your acts are truly led by God. I couldn't write anything because I was crying so much. I want so much to do something and this tragedy has affected my children more than anyone will ever knew. Our prayers, love, tears, and faith are with all the families. Knowing that soon, but not soon enough, this too will pass is small condolence; we must keep our faith and trust that God continue to give us strength each and every minute. Your pain reaches us in Georgia but prayers are heard and answered everywhere.
Carolyn Brown December 18, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Mike, Right here in our own country, many people go through terrible things, and there's nothing more so than the loss of all those innocent young children! So how is it that countries who hate us are getting billions from us and a tragedy such as Newtown gets a visit and a few tears and the House and Senate have to debate over $60 million to help the people affected by "Sandy"? God bless and help the parents of those sweet lives to somehow get through it and know that there are 20 new angels in heaven today! Make that 26 counting the adults! I was particularly touched by the actions of one of the teachers who shielded her group with her own body to save them but lost her own life. That is what Guardian Angels do! All of you please keep in mind....KENTUCKY cares too!! Carolyn
Carolyn Brown December 18, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Is there a way those of us who want to, can help Robert & Lucrecia with the gas to make any more trips? It's not a free ride esp. with gas prices as high as they are. Anybody have any ideas about how this can be done? I live in Ky and don't know anything about that area, but would gladly put in whatever I can afford just to help out!
Nancy A December 18, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Hi Corinne. On the Toys "R" Us website, they have a "contact us" page. I hope you don't mind, but I attached your letter in an email to Toys "R" Us. You had a great idea. I hope they step up and make a donation thanks to you. Have a blessed Christmas.
Susan December 18, 2012 at 07:38 PM
People STOP saying you "want" to do something ... do like Mr. Young and his wife did .. get off your duff and just GOOOOOOOOOOOOO do it! Could have, would have, should have .... just Gooooooooooooooooo !!! Make a difference and STOP talking about it. Go, Go, Go !!! IF you can drive a car ... then GO!
Jaloney Caldwell December 18, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I love the show of support and compassion towards the 20 children that died in the Connecticut tragedy. However, there is a group of parents who also suffered unnecessary, horrible deaths of their children, too. They have not received ANY acknowledgement from the president. No groups have risen to the cause to help them with expenses, prayers, cards, letters or support to help them in their first Christmas without their recently departed child. Irronically our nation lost its 20th child to a pitbull mauling in the same 24 hour span that the Connecticut tragedy occurred when a 2 yr old Topeka, Kansas girl was killed by a relatives pitbull that they were visiting. Mom was present and could do nothing to save her child. This tragedy did not make the national news. Many adults, moms, dads, and spouses were killed this year, too. including a man in Fresno, Ca just last week. Please keep these families in your hearts, prayers and well wishes, too as they have been ignored. At some point our nation has to turn off the reality t.v. and realize that this dog fad is filling up coffins and leaving a lot of innocent people with permanent disfigurement. Ignoring victims because of a powerful world wide pitbull lobby isn't the American way. Love thy neighbor always needs to supersede politics.
Ranchotad December 18, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Mike - you truly are a despicable character. Perhaps you were NEVER taught how to behave in a situation like this. Shame on you to talk so disrespectfully of our President, who has done nothing but good for America and is one of the smartest presidents this country has had.
Ranchotad December 18, 2012 at 08:11 PM
The world needs more gracious folks like you. After the shock and grief of Sandy Hook, the heart of America is broken.
Anita Pacheco December 18, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Robert and Lucrecia Young I do not know you either, yet feel like I would run to you both and hug you for being such woderful,kind, and giving human beings. My 12 yr old grand daughter Regina and I wish we could fly to Newtown,Ct. to help in any way we possibly could. How ever that is not possible due to my health issues and lack of funds. I am asking neighbors and all family members to donate what ever they can to these families, i will be looking for a local bank to distribute the monies as soon as I set it up . Thank You for your generosity and your display of love and compassion to the people of Newton. May God bless you and your family. My eternal respect to you both. Anita Pacheco & Regina Davis
Anita Pacheco December 18, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Thank you to everyone who has helped in any way to Newtown,Ct.
Crystal December 18, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I had replied to Brenda Reagans comment earlier today about bringing signs with messages of love to Newtown. I left my e-mail address and was contacted by another reader, Karen, who would also like to make this happen. If anyone else would like to take part, please e-mail me at cnifong11@live.com Robert and Lucrecia, thank you for sharing your beautiful story. It has inspired myself and others.
Ralph Ostuni December 18, 2012 at 11:45 PM
My aunt and uncle and cousins are from Newtown after this terrorible tragedy I've talked to them , and they said christmas was cancelled, people took down x-mas decorations, and are in mourning, the people are in shock and in disbelief, they appreciate all the support, but nothing will bring back their loved ones,
Robert Young December 19, 2012 at 12:19 AM
To all of you we sincererly thank you but we just did what we needed to do. We will be leaving on Thursday again with a jeep now filled with Stuffed Animals. We will be out in Bridgewater again tomorrow to see what is dropped off. I have a wonderful wife who is very emotional about this tragic event. Thanks to all and you all have done something by just thinking about the kids and familys. Our LOve out to all of you and thoes of you who have kids no matter what aga HUG them. LOve Robert & Lucrecia Young
ANTHONY December 19, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Very nice !
Debe December 19, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Robert, I am a teacher. There are several of us that would be more than happy to collect new stuffed animals (or anything else they need). If you and your wife can drive them up, I will collect them. Debbie Ericksen
Peter T December 19, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Bob- your compassion has given people light in a time of darkness. God bless you. Peter
Robert Young December 19, 2012 at 02:25 AM
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Toy-Drive-for-Newtown/452196924840515?skip_nax_wizard=true#!/pages/Toy-Drive-for-Newtown/452196924840515 Here is the link to the Facebook Page I created in order to make things more organized and people know exactly where to drop donations off etc. Thank you for all the support and donations already!
Robert Young December 19, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Linda, Great suggestion. That may be a good place to spend some of the checks from folks out of state.
Robert Young December 19, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Kirk, if I ever would get the chance to hug one of the parents I will make sure they know it is from New Jersey.
Robert Young December 19, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Thanks my brother...
Robert Young December 19, 2012 at 11:27 PM
alexa, any many have restored my faith in mankind. Luv ya Robert & Lucrecia
Nancy A December 20, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Corinne, I just received this message in response to the email I sent to Toys "R" Us with your letter attached. Thank you for contacting Toys “R”Us. I really appreciate the email you sent. I was sickened to hear of the tragic situation in Connecticut. I am forwarding your email to our corporate guest relations team, and am hopeful that they will respond in a positive manner. Thank you again for contacting Toys “R” Us. We value your business and look forward to serving you in the future! Sincerely, Frank Hopkins Toys “R” Us Customer Service Team 1-800-TOYSRUS
Robert Young December 24, 2012 at 01:00 PM
We were there on Wednesday and all xmas decorations were still up and it looked breathtaking.
Robert Young January 22, 2013 at 03:49 PM
To all from ROBERT YOUNG. Just wanted to take the time and Thank each and everyone of you for your gifts and prayers. The people of Newtown appreciated us from around the country and from Bridgewater. Again, thanks and may God Bless You All. Robert young
Robert Young January 23, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Ralph, your cousins are wrong. They did not take down the xmas decorations.


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