The Vermont Clothing Company is pumping out hundreds of pink T-shirts in honor of slain high school teacher Melissa Jenkins.
"An order would come in every 5 to 7 minutes," said Matthew Walker of the Vermont Clothing Company.
Seven-hundred Vermont Cares shirts have already been ordered from 25 states and even as far away as Mexico. All of the profits go to the Melissa Jenkins Memorial Trust Fund, an account set up to care for Jenkins' 2-year-old son. The St. Johnsbury mom was murdered last week.
"We like to think we moved here to avoid these kinds of things. And then when it's a mother and her child it's just unbelievably emotional, you have to try to find a way to do something to help," Walker said.
"What we've seen to date is anywhere from kids coming in with their piggy bank and giving $14.28 to much larger donations that are coming in individually or through the businesses," Richard Lyon said.
Lyon is one of the two independent trustees who will manage the account until Ty turns 21. The trust is designed to cover the costs of raising a child, from basic necessities to health care and education.
"It can be for anything that a child would need growing up. All the way down from a pair of sneakers to admission to a basketball camp or travel," Lyon said.
Any money taken out of the account will have to be approved by the trustees on a case-by-case basis.
Donations to the Melissa Jenkins Memorial Trust Fund can be made at any of Passumpsic Bank's 11 branches in Vermont and New Hampshire. Or by mailing:
Melissa Jenkins Memorial Trust Passumpsic Savings Bank P.O. Box 38 St. Johnsbury, VT 05819 Checks should be made out to "Melissa Jenkins Memorial Trust."
The trustees have also approved two websites where online donations will be funneled into the trust:
The gofundme.com site was created by two of Jenkins' high school friends. The St. Johnsbury Academy, where Jenkins taught, is also accepting donations which will be deposited directly into the trust. The dollar amount in the trust will remain private, but the trustees did say donations have been generous.
"The individuals responsible for helping to raise Ty aren't going to have to worry about that being a financial burden and they can really focus on the attention of raising him as his mother would have liked," Lyon said.
Matthew Walker hopes in some small way his T-shirts will help ease the pain in this community.
"I think about the classroom full of kids wearing them... Will be pretty amazing," he said.
Ty's father and his family have also created an account for the toddler. And while the family continues to direct supporters to the trust fund through the Passumpsic Savings Bank, they say the additional donation account is a way to involve friends and family closer to their home in Chittenden County. The family told WCAX News, "We have established this account for Ty so that the many people who personally know and love Ty and his family can help support his immediate, as well as future needs."
And there's been no shortage of fundraisers. St. J Academy has raised nearly $30,000. A local pizza place in town donated about $10,000. And the Caledonian-Record also gave a day's worth of sales to the Melissa Jenkins Memorial Trust.
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