As the dust settles in Orlando, the scene of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, heartbroken and confused observers across the country are wondering how they can help.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, on Saturday night a gunman, later identified as Omar Saddiqui Matteen, opened fire outside the Pulse Nightclub, a popular gay hotspot in Orlando, in an act being described as that of domestic terrorism. As of this writing, at least 50 people have been confirmed dead in the shooting, and dozens remain injured.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2016
As Americans and our friends worldwide are often quick to do in the face of unbelievable tragedy, many are wondering how they can help. Here are some ways in which you can help Orlando:
According to Time, OneBlood, an Orlando blood bank, put out a call Sunday for Orlandoans to donate blood – specifically certain blood types.
“There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors following a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Dozens of people have been injured and taken to area hospitals. The need for blood continues.”
However, according to a follow-up report in The Orlando Sentinel, central Florida blood banks are already at capacity, and potential donors are being asked to return later, according to One Blood spokesperson Pat Michaels.
“I’ve been here 13 years and never seen a response like this. The sentiment is understood and appreciated, but it’s a little too much, too soon.”
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) June 12, 2016
Nevertheless, blood donation is a noble and important thing to do, and even if your donation may not directly affect Orlando, it can be used in your own community.
If you can’t donate blood, or are concerned your blood donation may not help Orlando, you can always donate something almost equally precious: your money.
The victims of the Orlando shooting and their families are probably going to be facing immense medical costs, and those facing long hospitalizations are likely to miss time at their jobs. A GoFundMe page has been set up with the goal of raising $500,000 for the victims of the Pulse shooting.
“Equality Florida, the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization is collecting contributions via this GoFundMe page to support the victims of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub.”
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Central Florida has provided a counseling hotline (1-407-228-1446) where people affected by the Pulse nightclub shooting can seek counseling. The agency is also asking for counselors to help man the phones; if you are a counselor and can provide counseling, your help may be needed.
Attend a Vigil
Vigils are planned for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting not only in Orlando, but throughout the country as well.
In San Francisco, a vigil is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. local time at Harvey Milk Plaza, according to CBS San Francisco. Similarly, a vigil is planned for Nashville, according to The Tennesseean, which Mayor Megan Barry plans to attend. Similar vigils are planned for New York City, Phoenix, San Antonio, and elsewhere. To see if there is a vigil planned in a city near you, check with your local LGBTQ advocacy organization.
In the coming days and weeks, victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting and their families are likely to endure unimaginable heartbreak over and over again, as the outcome of the shooting plays out. And although nothing anyone can do can ever take away that pain, Americans – and the world at large – has shown that, when tragedy strikes, in Orlando or elsewhere, human kindness still remains and people are willing to help in whatever way they can.
[Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images]