Friday, June 17, 2016

#OrlandoUnited: Here's how to help victims of the Orlando shooting

In the shock of this morning’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida—that left 49 people dead and more than 53 injured at a local gay club—a ton of people are asking what they can do. In the next few days, there will be clearer outlets and initiatives for you to engage in.

City officials have created an online form that anyone interested in volunteering can fill out.

Donate Money
When tragedies like this happen, first-response and relief organizations need all the resources they can get.

You can donate to the Central Florida chapter of the American Red Cross here. In addition, Equality Florida, and LGBT group, has set up a GoFundMe to support the victims and their families.

Local church Celebration Orlando has also launched a donation campaign to help those affected by the tragedy. In an Instagram post, they explained. You can text "HelpOrlando" and the amount you would like to donate to (407) 477-4745 to help those who are in need here in Orlando.” They have more information at CelebrationORL.org.

Give Blood
Hundreds of donors have showed up to blood banks in Orlando following the horrific shooting. Thanks to a massive turnout to help, One Blood said that the centers are currently at capacity. But, officials reiterated, donors should return in the coming days.

In Orlando, here’s where you can go:

Orlando West Michigan Donor Center
345 W Michigan Street, Ste. 106
Orlando, FL 32806

Orlando Main Donor Center
8669 Commodity Circle
Orlando, FL 32819

Oviedo Donor Center
1954 W. State Road 426
Oviedo, FL 32765

If you’re outside Orlando, call 1-888-936-6283 or visit the One Blood website for information about where you can make your donation. Around the country, the American Red Cross is a great place to donate blood.

Locate a Victim
If you have a family member who you fear may have been involved in the shooting, you can call Orlando's crisis hotline at (407) 246-4357. Right now, the hotline is dedicated to those looking for family members who might be victims.

City officials in Orlando have posted the names and ages of the victims they’ve identified.