This strangely parallels the exact experience my friend and I had making a website for the families in Newtown . Especially the part about being ignored on HN ;)
The author kind of discounts the power of "the press" though. From our experience, if there's even one good article out there about your cause, other reporters will contact you about it, and you'll get the word out much faster.
Author here, I really like what you're doing for Newtown. Best of luck to you with that!
As far as the press goes, you're definitely correct about other reporters reaching out. My main point there is that we found more success by personally contacting people (press included) about what we were doing, rather than sitting around, waiting, and hoping for them to come to us. We badgered newspaper reporters and called local TV stations to make sure that we were being talked about and that people knew how to get involved with our relief effort.
Once we addressed the initial concerns, people were much more willing to donate to us and we raised around $1500 in the first three weeks. After that, it was just a matter of packaging and shipping out the t-shirts.
A local store offered to print the designs in full color on high quality cotton shirts at an exceptionally low price. We contacted many providers to try and find the lowest possible price and we were fortunate enough to gain their support.