In Wake of Deadly Shootings, Nonprofits Aid Local Communities

Blood banks and community foundations sprang into action to accept donations and offer assistance after two mass shootings in Ohio and Texas over the weekend.

Two deadly mass shootings in different states over the weekend created much debate, mourning, and discussion—and, on a local level, ways for nonprofits to step up and help however possible.

In El Paso, Texas, where a 21-year-old man attacked a Walmart on Saturday in a suspected domestic terrorism incident that killed nearly two dozen people, one organization is assisting in a big way: Vitalant, a nonprofit network of community blood service providers, has accepted hundreds of donations from local residents.

While the organization has reached capacity for walk-ins in Texas, it is still accepting appointments, while regional arms are also assisting with efforts. The organization is also working with Lyft, which will offer free trips to Vitalant facilities in the El Paso area to anyone donating blood.

“THANK YOU to all the wonderful people who have been so kind and so patient while waiting,” the organization said on its Facebook page. “And a huge thank you to the vendors who have provided food, drinks, volunteers, and support.”

Operation H.O.P.E. El Paso, a group dedicated to assisting families in a time of hardship, announced it was teaming with local funeral homes to offer free funeral services to families of shooting victims.

“Thank you to these amazing people that have stepped up to join our efforts to help those in need in our community,” the organization said on its Facebook page. “We pray for those who have been through such a horrible event, but know you are not alone.”

Meanwhile, in Dayton, Ohio, where a man opened fire at a restaurant in the city’s Oregon District just after midnight Sunday, killing nine, the Dayton Foundation has created a fund for people wanting to donate to support victims of the shooting. The organization will waive processing fees so the full donation will go to help people affected by the tragedy.

“Many people want to reach out and help our friends, families, and neighbors in the aftermath of this incident,” the foundation said in a statement. “Individuals who contribute to the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund can be assured that their donations will be distributed safely and responsibly as we continue to work with local officials in the days ahead.”

Finally, the benefit corporation Public Good is working to help gather donations for nonprofits in both cities, including the Dayton Foundation, that are assisting the victims, their families, and the local communities. The firm, which mobilizes and organizes support after high-profile events, has a campaign page on its website.

A candlelight vigil after the shooting in Dayton, Ohio on Sunday. (Becker1999/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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