"Those kids were leaving with two or three teddy bears each, and there was still a giant pile," he said. "These people don't need any more teddy bears."
But they may get more anyway. A handful of online fundraising efforts are aiming to send hundreds, if not thousands, of the stuffed animals Newtown. More than $7,500 has been raised by the campaigns.
Some online giving in the aftermath of the shootings, which killed 20 young children and six adults at the school, has been troubled by inefficiency. Some donated items - like the teddy bears - aren't needed, and not every dollar given is going to the intended cause.
In Newtown, financial efforts quickly coalesced around the United Way's Sandy Hook School Support fund and the school's parent teacher association. The United Way account, opened at the Newtown Savings Bank, has collected more than $1.35 million. But online and across the country, efforts have been scattershot.
There have been numerous charities set up, including for individual victims, but donors should be wary and make sure their money is going directly to the victims or scholarships. Many online campaigns come at a cost, with the processor taking a percentage off the top.
The Connecticut Attorney General's office on Tuesday released guidelines for giving wisely. They suggest those wanting to
The state Department of Consumer Protection did not respond to a request for information about complaints submitted so far.
The family of Noah Pozner was mourning their 6-year-old who was killed in the Newtown school massacre when their sorrow was compounded by outrage, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Someone they didn't know was soliciting donations in Noah's memory via an an official-looking website. The solicitor promised that he or she would send any cards, packages and money collected to Noah's parents and siblings. The site even included petitions on gun control.
Noah's uncle, Alexis Haller, called on law enforcement authorities to seek out "these despicable people."
"These scammers," he told the AP, "are taking away from families and the spirits of dead kids.
Dozens of other fundraising campaigns have been set up on charity-focused, Kickstarter-style sites, including Crowdrise and , collecting for everything from school and art supplies to an eventual permanent memorial. Standalone websites and Facebook pages run by individuals are collecting cash via PayPal, leading to questions of tracking and accountability.
Kim White, a real estate agent in Santa Clarita, Calif., founded a fund-raising effort through Facebook called "Sandy Hook Elementary Donation." On her Facebook page she urges people to donate directly to the Sandy Hook PTA, but also has a PayPal account. White said that as of Wednesday afternoon, she hadn't received any donations through the service - except for $5 from her daughter Jenna, 8, who contributed her tooth-fairy money.
"People are obviously fearful of scams," she said.
White, 42, said she decided to launch the fundraiser after reading the grief-stricken posts of her Facebook friends.
"Even though they don't know these kids, every single person was just devastated by what had happened," she said. "Everybody was just crying and sobbing about this tragedy and I just decided to put this page together for them."
Unlike giving directly to the recommended funds, donations through these outside sites come at a cost. The crowdsourcing charity sites each take a small cut of donations, ranging anywhere from 6 percent to 13 percent, including credit card fees.
That can add up to substantial sums. One campaign on Crowdrise, which takes out 5 percent plus $1-$2.50 per donation, had brought in more than $150,000 as of Wednesday evening. The money will be passed on to the Sandy Hook PTA fund.
A Colorado rock band's campaign on Indiegogo, which charges 7 percent for successful efforts, had nearly $80,000. It was unclear how that money would be distributed. PayPal generally charges 2.9 percent, plus 30 cents per transaction.
The sites' fee structures are transparent for the people who set up the campaigns, but only noted in small print, if at all, for donors.
Robert Wolfe, a founder of Crowdrise, noted that credit card companies take 3 percent of transactions, whether made directly to a nonprofit like the United Way of Western Connecticut, or through crowdsourcing sites. The companies have waived their fees during some tragedies or crises in the past, such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the Japanese tsunami and Hurricane Sandy, but have given no indication they'll do so in this case.
"I hope the experience on Crowdrise on this campaign and other campaigns lets you bust through that margin" because the site helps build awareness more efficiently and convert that interest into donations, he said.
"A lot of times I think Twitter and Facebook are not very efficient for generating donations, as opposed to awareness," Wolfe said, while Crowdrise lets individuals rapidly set up a way to donate to a vetted nonprofit and share it with his or her friends on social networks.
That's how the project set up by Ryan Kraft, who says he's an alumnus of Sandy Hook Elementary, went viral and topped six figures.
Patricia Doxsey contributed to this story