12/17/2012 01:53 pm ET Updated Dec 18, 2012

Santas For Sandy Hook: Newtown High School Alumni Return From College To Help Hometown

A group of former Newtown Public Schools students, calling themselves Santas for Sandy Hook, returned home this weekend to raise money for the families of those killed in Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The group set up tables outside local businesses and restaurants, and students used the hashtag #santasforsandyhook to spread the word on Twitter and other social media outlets. According to dispatches on Twitter, the group of about 20 college students have raised $10,000 already.

The Republican reports:

Sarah Feinstein, 21, a member of the group and a student at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., said she made the long drive home on Saturday. "It was brutal," she said. Her mother, Laura Feinstein, a special education and reading teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was at the school on Friday and survived the attack, but six of her colleagues and some of her pupils were not so lucky. "She lost three of her students," Feinstein said of her mother. "She's just traumatized by it all."

Students told the Newtown Patch one table collected $1,000 within just four hours.

The money will go to an account established at Newtown Savings Bank. The money will then be distributed to local families, Mark Scheunemann, 21, told the Republican.

Cole Depuy, a member of Santas for Sandy Hook and a senior at the University of Vermont, told the Philadelphia Inquirer he attended kindergarten at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 children were killed by 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

"It's absolutely unbearable," Depuy said. "I've cried a million times. It's something else to turn on the radio and hear your town's tragedy."

Several memorial funds have been set up, including the Newtown Memorial Fund, which will help students in town pay for college, as well as provide financial support to families for funeral services college, ABC News reports.

"I just want them to know that we care and we're here, and we'll do anything that we can (to) help," Zoe Walter, one of the students involved told NBC News, as she broke down in tears. "I just want them to know that we're thinking about them."