Here's How You Can Help the Las Vegas Shooting Victims and Their Families
One of the best ways to kick that yucky feeling of helplessness is to dust yourself off and take action. In the wake of the horrific mass shooting at Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, an immeasurable amount of emotional and monetary support from all corners of the globe has come to the aid of the hundreds of victims and their families. The global festival community has mobilized in myriad ways as well. It's been an incredible thing to witness.
Right now, debates over gun control, mental health, terrorism, and festival security are raging in the media and in Washington, though there is still no telling how much this terrible incident will change anything. On the ground, however, change is more fast-moving. Donating blood, giving to funds set up for victims, and lending emotional support for those who are on the front lines in hospitals, task forces, and other groups working around the clock to right this terrible, terrible wrong are crucial ways we can all help.
An easy way to begin is by visiting Everfest's homepage and clicking the donation button at the top. The link on our homepage goes directly to GoFundMe's page of current campaigns set up by the families of those were both wounded and killed, where you can donate to medical funds or memorial funds. To donate to the City of Las Vegas's own GoFundMe, set up by Steve Sisolak, Clark County Commission Chair from Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Victims' Fund, click here. It has so far raised nearly $9 million.
The Code Green Campaign has also created the Las Vegas First Responder Mental Health Fund to help pay for mental health care for first responders and their families in the wake of the mass shooting. "Often, the first responders who are present at mass casualty incidents are not eligible for assistance through funds set up for the victims. We want to make sure that there is a fund available specifically for first responders who need assistance paying for care after this tragic incident,” Board President Ann Marie Farina said, according to ems1.com.
The turnout of blood donors in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting has been massive. If you live in the Las Vegas area, officials say they currently have enough blood to meet immediate needs, citing "overwhelming turnout," according to CBS News. However, there are options to donate if you still wish to do so. United Blood Services (by appointment only) and the American Red Cross have both provided blood to Las Vegas hospitals, and both list blood donation centers on their websites.
If you live outside of Las Vegas, you can still donate blood, which will help to free up the overall blood supply. Click here to find a blood donation center near you.
Donors must be at least 17 years old to donate blood, though some states do allow 16-year-olds to donate if they have parental consent. All donors are required to weigh more than 110 pounds, regardless of age.
Make a Physical Donation of Non-Perishable Items
If you want donate water, canned goods, or non-perishable items, people are being instructed to visit Three Square and Catholic Charities. Currently, substations cannot currently manage the physical donations and kindly ask everyone donate them to these two organizations to ensure their distribution.
Volunteer Your Time
If you're a qualified grief counselor, consider volunteering to help victims and their families in Las Vegas, as well as the many hundreds who witnessed the gruesome tragedy. Mandalay Bay Hotel tweeted yesterday that is seeking help for the hundreds of people who witnessed this horror, which occurred at and adjacent to the resort and casino.
Get Real About Mental Health
Feeling overwhelmed or grieving? If you’re in the Las Vegas area, click this link to the Las Vegas Grief and Loss Counseling Center. This website lists support groups and hotlines around the country. If anyone you know needs emotional or mental support, share these resources. Mental health is an integral issue in this entire tragedy, and is essential to the healing process.
Support the Gun Control Movement
Now is the time to talk about gun control. Gun violence touches every town in America. Tell Congress and your senators to enact change to current gun control laws now. Consider giving to organizations like Everytown, which is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. You might recognize Everytown from its presence at Chicago festivals like Pitchfork Music Festival and Riot Fest. With your help organizations like this can put the pressure on the government to do something about gun violence and save lives. This doesn't have to keep happening.
As passionate festival-goers ourselves, it is our duty to help protect the global festival community this tragedy has touched. We must remember that we cannot let fear tear this beloved and vibrant community apart. To quote our writer Ross Gardiner, "Festivals are acts of collective rejoice, and vital spaces in which we celebrate our similarities and embrace our differences." Festivals are how we celebrate love and life. Festivals are our safest, happiest spaces. We cannot let hate stop that from continuing to be true.