NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A charity set up in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting massacre has started to distribute money to families of the victims.

My Sandy Hook Family Fund has cut checks from donations brought in over the past month and a half.

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“We have $40,000 per family and while that’s a great start, we’re hoping to raise over $100,000 per family to help them essentially get to solid ground emotionally, get their bills paid for, get their immediate needs taken care of so that they can focus on healing,” fund co-founder and director Rob Accomando told WCBS 880.

Accomando said only some of the $1.2 million raised so far has been dispersed, because some families do not want or need their full share right away.

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Still, Accomando said it feels great to begin helping the families directly.

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“We recently got communication from the Attorney General’s office to our attorney — they had reviewed our operating guidelines and just early this week indicated that they didn’t have any concerns about them, so we were essentially OK to start making initial distributions to the families,” Accomando told WCBS 880.

Shooter Adam Lanza killed 20 first graders and six educators inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 before he took his own life as first responders closed in.

Dozens of funds have been set up to raise money for Newtown-related causes. The largest, the Sandy Hook School Support Fund, is in the process of setting up a foundation to determine how to spend more than $8.6 million it has raised.

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