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Donors pitch in to help grieving Amish community

From Ekin Nasuhogullari
CNN
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- More than $550,000 has poured in from around the world to help an Amish community recover from a schoolhouse shooting Monday in which five girls were killed and five others seriously injured, according to an agency managing the donations.

Richie Lauer, Director of the Anabaptist Foundation, said the Amish community, whose religious beliefs prohibit them from having health insurance, will likely use the donations to help pay the medical costs of the hospitalized children.

The fifth of the girls shot to death by Charles Carl Roberts IV was buried Friday in rural Georgetown, Pennsylvania. Five other girls who were victims of the schoolhouse shooting remained hospitalized, three in critical condition and two in serious condition. The girls range in age from 6 to 13. (Full story)

"There has been a widespread public outpouring of support and sympathy, and it is the intention of the Amish that funds be used in a responsible manner," Lauer said.

The Amish community has formed an anonymous "Accountability Committee" with two non-Amish and seven Amish community leaders to decide how the money will be distributed.

Mennonite Disaster Services, the Mennonite Central Committee and the Anabaptist Foundation have each established public funds for donations. The Blue Cross has set up a private fund and pledged an additional $500,000 toward expenses.

Separately, a private account has been set up for Roberts' wife and children. Pennsylvania's Fulton Bank opened the account because the family "really had nothing to with this, and now they are without a husband and a father, a source of support for the family," said bank spokeswoman Laura Wakeley.

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How to help

The Nickel Mines School Victims Fund
c/o HomeTowne Heritage Bank
P.O. Box 337
Strasburg, PA 17579

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