Multiple local NGOs are taking the initiative to help the Orlando community to recover after a gunman killed 49, plus himself, and wounded 53 at a night club on early Sunday morning, June 12.
Update: JetBlue is providing free seats on its available flights to and from Orlando for “immediate family and domestic partners of victims who were killed or injured.”
The first thing urgently needed was blood. Officials sent the word out on social media on Sunday and hundreds of people flooded the OneBlood donor centers, including the mobile Big Red Bus.
“Friends thank you for the amazing outpouring of support! All the Donor Centers and Big Red Bus locations were packed to capacity. Many more people brought food and water for donors and the OneBlood team,” the local non-profit wrote on its Facebook page Sunday night.
It also said still more donations will be needed in the coming days.
“Please be patient as many of our locations may have long lines,” it posted on Monday morning. “You can make an appointment online for the first available opening or call 1.888.9.DONATE (1.888.936.6283).”
Local non-profit Equality Florida set up a GoFundMe page to support the victims and their families.
“Funds raised on this page will be going directly to the victims and families affected by the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub,” the organization wrote on the page. “Regarding distribution of funds, we are working with a team of Orlando attorneys and experts, including the National Center for Victims of Crime, which deployed funds in both Chattanooga and Aurora, to ensure funds are distributed correctly.”
The campaign is quickly reaching its $2.5 million goal, with over $1.8 million already in by noon Monday, and donations averaging about $1,000 a minute.
Mental Health Services
More than 440 mental health professionals have signed up to offer their services to the victims through a local non-profit.
“In response to the tragic events of last night, the therapists at Gilstrap & Associates will offer free 30 minute sessions to those affected for the coming week,” the practice wrote in a Facebook comment. “People seeking counseling in regards to the shooting will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a therapist up to three times.”
“We are a private practice that specializes in all areas of counseling but more specifically with trauma and addictions. Anyway we can help!” the Choices Counseling Center wrote in a Facebook comment.
Local pastor Bernie Anderson offered free funeral services for the victims at her church in Apopka, an Orlando suburb.
— Bernie Anderson (@pastorb33) June 13, 2016
Southwest Florida Red Cross set up a hotline for the families of the victims: 407.246.4357.
A hotline has been setup for family members of the victims: 407.246.4357. You can also visit https://t.co/8347cT45Gr for the latest info.
— Red Cross SW Florida (@RedCrossSWFL) June 13, 2016