AMESBURY— The death of 35-year-old Daniel Nikas this winter was a shock to friends and family.

Amanda Connolly, the owner of Amesbury Country Day School who has been friends with the Nikas family, said community members have come forward with offers to help his loved ones, including 3-year-old son Maddox, who attends her preschool.

Connolly decided to organize a yard sale to benefit the family, including Maddox as well as Nikas' fiancé©e, parents and nine siblings, during a difficult time.

The fundraiser takes place today from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Amesbury Country Day School at 186 Market St.

"I'm just really close with Shannen (Nikas' fiancé©e) and Maddox, and I grew up with the Nikas family since I was a little kid. And I have been around them and have seen what they are going through," Connolly said. "Everyone in the community has been looking for a way to feel like they have done something."

She said the yard sale was a way to get even the children at the preschool involved. The youngsters will be running a lemonade stand and selling plants they have grown to help out their good friend Maddox. To get ready for the sale, the children have been diligently working to paint pots for the plants.

"We have been selling it to the kids more as that we are doing it for other people that need it because I don't think they would really understand (death)," Connolly said.

More than 40 area businesses have donated gift certificates and other items for a raffle that will be held during the yard sale.

"I have been planning it, and I have put it out there to Facebook, which spreads like wildfire, and also through the preschool tons of parents and good friends have passed along fliers," Connolly said.

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