How to help the victims of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas

On Tuesday, a gunman killed at least 19 children and two adults, injuring at least 17 others, in a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

The community of Uvalde, a small, predominantly Hispanic town nestled between San Antonio and the US-Mexico border, is in mourning. So does the rest of the nation, as a fierce gun control debate and painful memories of Sandy Hook resurface.

Read more: What we know so far about the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas

Amid the political tumult, community groups, lawyers and hospitals are stepping up to support those affected by organizing blood drives, providing essential services and raising funds. Two local funeral homes – Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home and Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary Uvalde – announced on social media that they would help victims’ families arrange funerals for free. The San Antonio Food Bank said it will provide meals for teachers and counselors at SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde; the San Antonio Legal Services Association posted on social media that it was recruiting local attorneys to provide pro bono legal services to affected families; and Hill Country MHDD, which provides mental health services to 19 central Texas counties, said in a Facebook post that “help is available 24/7.”

There are ways people across the country and around the world can also offer their support. Here’s how you can help.

Where to donate blood

With several children and adults admitted to hospitals after the shooting, Texas organizations are scrambling to make sure blood donations are in plenty.

South Texas Blood & Tissue is holding an emergency blood drive Wednesday at the Herby Ham Activity Center in Uvalde from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Tuesday afternoon, he said all donor room appointments had been booked through Saturday, but encouraged individuals to register for slots through next week. Texas residents can register to donate blood here or search for blood drives in and near San Antonio at this link.

South Texas Blood & Tissue said in an update on its website Tuesday that it had already sent 25 units of blood to Uvalde by helicopter. “This tragedy highlights the importance of always having blood available on the shelf and before it is needed,” he added. At least 600 donors donated blood on Wednesday, the organization said.

University Health System, a teaching hospital in San Antonio that on Tuesday said it received four sick, also urged individuals to consider donating blood. In an update Wednesday afternoon, he thanked everyone who donated blood. “Blood donor services have been inundated with calls and online appointments,” he tweeted.

Fundraising for victims and their families

It is important that donors check carefully where they are sending their money, as scammers have already exploited tragedies such as Sandy Hook to withdraw funds from the intended cause.

The University Health System said those still willing to help could donate to a Uvalde Victim Relief Fund it created. The funds would be “used to support families while their loved ones are in University Hospital, to cover unpaid medical bills and other needs identified by our social workers,” he said.

GoFundMe has created a portal for individuals to donate to verified fundraisers related to the Uvalde shooting.

It includes a fundraiser for the family of Irma Garcia, a fourth grade teacher at Robb Elementary who was killed. The money would be used for family needs and funeral expenses, he said.

It also includes a fundraiser for the family of 10-year-old Xavier Lopez. “Everything helps and if you can’t help right now, please raise it and all the parents who are getting by [with] this tragedy and loss, in prayer tonight,” said one post describing the fundraiser.

GoFundMe is also running a fundraiser led by VictimsFirst, a network of families of those killed and injured in more than two decades of mass shootings, who say they are raising funds to ensure that “100% of what is raised goes DIRECT. at the base of the victims. ”

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“We are doing this because our own families have been re-victimized in the past by non-profit organizations raising money for themselves after a mass shooting saying they will ‘support’ the families, which is usually the legal verbiage used when donations do not go directly to the victims/survivors themselves,” they said in the description.

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