Here's How You Can Help The Victims Of The Orlando Nightclub Shooting. | Gradient

Here’s how you can help the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.

The death toll continues to climb in the wake of Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shooting. At least 50 are dead and 53 more are in various Orlando hospitals. While police and investigators continue to determine exactly what happened, here are some ways you can help.

1. Donate blood.

One Blood is saying there is an urgent need for blood for victims, and they’ve urged volunteers to go to local blood banks (not hospitals!) to donate. Orlando residents, you know what to do.

There are federal laws about who is eligible to donate blood and, contrary to some reports, those rules have not been lifted, despite the extraordinary need.

2. Donate Money.

Equality Florida, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization, has set up a GoFundMe page to support victims of the Pulse shooting. It has raised over $4,700 in two hours. You can donate here.

3. Share news cautiously.

In the immediate aftermath of tragedy, many news organizations start reporting whatever they hear, and many of those things turn out to be half truths or outright lies. Be cautious with your own social media reporting, and avoid jumping to conclusions. In the coming days, there will be a lot of rhetoric spewed about both the Muslim community and the LGBTQ community. Some of these things will be based in fear, mistrust and opportunism. Some will be based on understanding, courage and wisdom. Only you can choose.

4. Attend a vigil.

Vigils are more than just a photo-op for politicians and their candles. They’re an opportunity for communities of various backgrounds to join together and reassure each other that this tragedy is a shared tragedy. Orlando’s LGBT community is planning a vigil for Sunday evening, and various other communities around America will be joining as well. Check with local LGBT communities for times and locations.

5. Provide counseling.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Central Florida is overwhelmed with calls to its hotline and is asking for people with counseling degrees to volunteer. People who would like to speak to a grief counselor can call them at 407-228-1446.