West Palm Beach Hosting Blood Drive, Vigil In Support Of Orlando Shooting Victims

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by Ileana Llorens by Lyssa Goldberg Jun 13, 2016 02:03 PM

There are several ways to show continued support for the victims and families affected by Orlando's mass shooting here in Palm Beach County.

The West Palm Beach Police Department is hosting a blood drive Monday, which will be followed by a public vigil on the Waterfront set for Tuesday. A separate vigil is scheduled to take place Monday at the Lake Worth Cultural Plaza. 

South Floridians have already come together to remember the victims and families affected by the violence at Pulse nightclub, an LGBT-friendly establishment in Orlando. Numerous vigils were held Sunday evening in cities including Port St. Lucie, Wilton Manors, Miami Beach and another in West Palm Beach at CityPlace, where locals gathered to mourn together and offer support to the LGBT community. 

Equality Florida, a civil rights organization dedicated to the LGBT community, has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the victims and their families. As of Monday morning, about 46,000 donors had raised nearly $2 million. 

In addition to monetary donations, blood drives around the tri-county area are helping Orlando hospitals, which nonprofit OneBlood had said was in need of O-negative, O-positive and AB plasma blood donors following the attack.

After an outpouring of support in Orlando—where thousands lined up at blood donation centers throughout the city ready to help victims receiving care—OneBlood issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying it was at capacity. 

Still, the organization is encouraging people to make appointments throughout the week in order to help replenish the supply. (Click here to read about donor eligibility.)

On Monday, officials confirmed 49 people died in the attack at Pulse; at least 53 were injured. The original death toll of 50 included the gunman—identified by authorities as 29-year-old Omar Mateen—who was killed during a standoff with police. 

President Barack Obama called the suspect’s actions both “an act of terror and an act of hate.” 

In a statement on Pulse’s website, club owner Barbara Poma offered her condolences to the victims’ families: 

Like everyone in the country, I am devastated about the horrific events that have taken place today. Pulse, and the men and women who work there, have been my family for nearly 15 years. From the beginning, Pulse has served as a place of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. I want to express my profound sadness and condolences to all who have lost loved ones. Please know that my grief and heart are with you.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has requested an emergency declaration from Obama so that “‘the full resources of the federal government’ can be made available for the individuals, families, and communities impacted by this ‘horrific massacre.’” 

As we continue to learn the names of the victims and their stories, here’s what you can do to help: 

 

Donate blood at a local drive.

West Palm Beach Police Department

Corner of Rosemary Avenue and Clematis Street

Monday, June 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Make an appointment for this afternoon here.

 

Attend a vigil. 

Lake Worth Cultural Plaza

Monday, June 13, 8 p.m.

 

West Palm Beach Waterfront

Tuesday, June 14, 7:30 p.m. 

 

To find a blood bank near you and schedule an appointment, head to oneblood.org/donate-now/ or call 1.888.9DONATE. Those interested in hosting their own blood drive can fill out a request form here. 

(Image via Flickr/Fibonacci Blue​)