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How to help Uvalde families following Tuesday's elementary school shooting

The archbishop of San Antonio, Gustavo Garcia-Siller, comforts families outside the Civic Center following a deadly school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Dario Lopez-Mills
The archbishop of San Antonio, Gustavo Garcia-Siller, comforts families outside the Civic Center following a deadly school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

Uvalde, Texas, is reeling from the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history after a gunman killed at least 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School yesterday.

The emergency department at Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 14 patients, 11 of whom were children. Many family members — some of whom gave DNA swabs to help investigators identify victims — are still awaiting news of their loved ones.

Onlookers in and beyond Texas may be wondering what support they can offer. The community is looking for blood donations, legal assistance and funds for victims' families. Read on to learn how you can help.

Support verified fundraisers

GoFundMe has established an online hub of verified fundraisers supporting victims and loved ones affected by the shooting, which you can find here.

Those include a fundraiser organized by VictimsFirst (a network of survivors and relatives affected by previous mass shootings) to provide victims' family members with no-strings-attached cash payments.

The group said it started the fund "to make sure that 100% of what is collected goes DIRECTLY to the victim base so the victims’ families and those wounded/injured are protected from fraud and exploitation."

As of Wednesday morning, all three verified fundraisers — the VictimsFirst fund, a campaign raising money for funeral expenses for the family of Xavier Lopez and a fundraiser by Austin-based Los Verdes Supporter Group — had exceeded their financial goals.

Two funeral homes in the area, Rushing-Estes Mortuary Uvalde and Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home, said in social media posts that they would offer their services to families for free.

The community is seeking volunteer legal services

The San Antonio Legal Services Association is seeking volunteer attorneys who are licensed to practice in the state of Texas, according to a Facebook post.

"Volunteer NOW to assist Uvalde Shooting Victims and Families with Unmet Legal Needs," it wrote. "SALSA will respond with pro bono assistance as called upon to do so by community partners and civil leaders over the coming weeks."

The organization is asking qualified attorneys to email them with their area of practice and availability through the month of June.

Donate blood in the days and weeks ahead

University Health System — the largest transfuser of blood in the San Antonio area — is encouraging community members to donate blood to hospitals and centers.

"Your donation can help ensure we have supplies immediately available for the victims of this tragic shooting," it tweeted. Many of its online appointments are booked through the end of the month.

South Texas Blood & Tissue said on Tuesday that thanks to donors, it was able to send 15 units of blood to the school and local hospitals immediately after the shooting, and another 10 to an area hospital later in the day upon request.

"We will continue to work with hospitals in the area to make blood available as it’s needed and to rebuild their supply for other patients in need," the organization said.

The blood center is holding an emergency blood drive in Uvalde on today, which it said has already filled up with appointments. It later tweeted that donors were experiencing a 2-hour wait time and that all of its appointments were booked through Saturday. But the center stressed that help would still be needed after beyond that point, added slots to its Memorial Day blood drive and encouraged people to schedule (and keep) appointments for the following week.

"This tragedy highlights the importance of always having blood available on the shelf and before it’s needed," the center said.

Learn more about the blood donation process.

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Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.