On the anniversary of the Saugus High School shooting, Scout Anna Fineberg paid tribute to the victims by hosting a blanket day to donate more than 100 blankets to Saugus High School and the community through Project Linus.
Fineberg, a sophomore at Saugus during the shooting in 2019, changed the way she viewed school, but the local Project Linus chapter gifted blankets to comfort those impacted by the events, helping her to know she was in a safe space.
The blanket day event was hosted at St. Stephens Episcopal Church by Fineberg, who organized, received donations and wrangled volunteers to help make blankets.
“After the Saugus High School tragedy, they [Project Linus] donated hundreds of blankets to the school,” Fineberg said. “That comfort brought back to the community … It really helped us heal with the school.”
Fineberg grew up watching her brother go through the scouting journey and joined troop 2019 when membership expanded to include girls in Scouts BSA. She was often involved informally with her parents being scoutmasters.
Additionally, Fineberg is the second girl in the Santa Clarita Valley to do an Eagle Scout Service Project. The completion gives her the highest rank a scout can achieve — Eagle Scout.
The process for Fineberg was not easy; she first reached out to her troop and district for approval of the project. Then, she combined her passion for community service with a tragic moment in her life and turned the events into motivation for a good cause.
After receiving approval, Fineberg began a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for her project and shared it to every possible social media she could send the link to. Her goal was reached, and she then continued the process by getting arts and craft stores to donate or discount materials for the project.
When it came to finding volunteers, many in the community were eager to contribute because of the importance of the event and what it meant to be “Saugus Strong.”
Fineberg rallied 60 volunteers from her cross-country team, her troop, her brother’s troop and service clubs such as Rotary, Key Club and National Honor Society.
“I raised the money fairly quickly because people in the Saugus community were so receptive of this project because it’s very near-and-dear to everyone — including me,” Fineberg said. “So people have been very supportive and that’s why I have so many volunteers.”
According to the scoutmaster of troop 2019 and Anna’s father, Michael Fineberg, the last two years have been difficult for his daughter, family and the community.
“It was very difficult for all of us, just like everybody in this community, going from the fear of not knowing what happened and processing what had happened,” Michael Fineberg said. “And the individual who took his own life and the life of others there,”
Michael Fineberg and his wife have spent the past two years helping their daughter process the events and working to allow Anna and her friends to understand and talk through the tragic events. He added that his daughter may never get beyond it but hopes she can continue to turn this event into a positive as she has done with the blanket day event.
When working on an Eagle Project, Michael Fineberg has stressed to Scouts, they make it personal and something they believe in and feel good about working on. He reasons that you don’t want to work on a project assigned to you but a personal project that will take more time and energy to complete.
When Anna Fineberg told her family about the project working with Project Linus, Michael Fineberg thought it was a fantastic idea.
The St. Stephens Episcopal Church is the troop’s charter organization and helped give the Scout troop a place to organize with the parent who helped form Santa Clarita’s only all-girl troop, according to Michael Fineberg.
Additionally, Michael Fineberg said he doesn’t know if his daughter will ever get closure from the tragic shooting but hopes it provides an opportunity for Anna to come to terms and feel like she can do something after feeling powerless to stop the events.
He added: “Nobody could have done something, there was no way to have stopped that and I think for Anna is it gives her the opportunity to feel like she’s doing something to help people that will have tragedies in the future and also to bring together the people that were affected by it.”