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How to help El Paso and Dayton shooting victims: 6 things you can do right now

How to help El Paso and Dayton shooting victims: 6 things you can do right now
[Photo: camilo jimenez/Unsplash]

Two mass shootings over the weekend have left at least 29 people dead, dozens more injured, and countless families grappling with life-altering traumas.

The first happened on Saturday morning at a busy shopping center and Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where 20 people were killed and 26 others were injured. A 21-year-old suspect is in custody and police are investigating a rambling, incoherent anti-immigrant manifesto posted online before the incident. The second happened just 13 hours later in Dayton, Ohio, where nine people, including the gunman, were killed.

The incidents have once again sparked anger and exasperation across the country, with social media users directing their outrage at congressional lawmakers who have been unable or unwilling to move the needle on meaningful gun-control legislation—even as they offer now-derided “thoughts and prayers” and other empty platitudes.

For the average citizen, the situation may feel beyond futile, but there are many things you can do help victims and their families right now, and that will make a difference. Relief groups, volunteers, and other good samaritans are mobilizing on the ground in Texas and Ohio and through online campaigns. Here are a few ways to help:

  • Donate to a charity: Money is always the most immediate need for victims. You can donate to groups like the American Red Cross (which has already mobilized staff and volunteers in El Paso).
  • Donate to victims’ funds: Some GoFundMe campaigns are already active, including a victims’ fund launched by Townsquare Media of El Paso with a goal of $500,000. Likewise, the El Paso Community Foundation created the El Paso Shooting Victims’ Fund, and the Paso del Norte Community Foundation created the El Paso Victims Relief Fund.
  • Give a tip: Police in Dayton are asking anyone who witnessed the shooting there to call its hotlines at 937-333-COPS or 937-225-6217 to help with the investigation.
  • Volunteer your time: The groups Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action have already staged a protest on the nation’s capitol yesterday to demand gun control. You can learn more about getting involved here.
  • Donate blood: In El Paso, Vitalant said yesterday that more than 240 units of blood have already gone out to victims, but they will need people’s help in replenishing supplies. Visit bloodhero.com or call 877-258-4825 to make an appointment. In Dayton, police said they are working with the local blood bank to set up donation opportunities.
  • Demand action: You can call your member of Congress to voice your opinion on gun control. If enough of us call our representatives, change will eventually happen. Here’s how to contact Congress about gun control.
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