Sunday morning, we woke to horrific news out of Florida. A gunman had opened fire in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub on Saturday night, killing at least 50 people and injuring another 53. This massacre has left us angry, afraid, and wondering what we can do to help.
We can do what we do best: come together as a community. People in Orlando and the surrounding areas are organizing to provide support for those affected by this atrocious violence. If you’re nearby, here’s how you can help. If you aren’t in Orlando, you can share this information with those who need it.
A note before we start: Be careful of false reports and unverified avenues of support. Trust in information from well-established organizations in the area like Equality Florida, One Blood, and the Red Cross. If you’re not sure about something, don’t hesitate to ask for verification from reputable organizations.
This post has been updated with additional information.
Find People and Check In
Facebook has set up a check-in page to help people locate loved ones. If you’re in Orlando, or have friends there, use it to let people know you are OK and to alert those you are concerned about that you are looking for them.
Call Orlando Mass Shooting Family Hotline at 407-246-4357 to help find loved ones who may be missing.
Please only use these services if you have been unable to make contact with someone who you believe was at Pulse nightclub during the incident.
Give Blood and Plasma
OneBlood is asking that those who wish to donate make an appointment to do so. Appointments for blood donations can be booked up to two weeks in advance. You can make an appointment online or by phone (888-936-6283).
Talk to Someone
Several places are coordinating services for those in need of counseling. We encourage you to contact these places or go where support is being offered if you need it.
The Trevor Project Hotline is always available for LGBTQ youth, and is open to anyone in need of support at this time. Call them at 1-866-488-7386.
Call Zebra Coalition's hotline at 407-228-1446 if you need to speak with someone immediately. Zebra Coalition is also hosting peer support groups for people ages 18 to 24 every day this week until Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. at 911 N Mills Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32803. Crisis counseling is being made available on Tuesday from 10 a.m. through the afternoon. The Zebra Coalition’s extended hours of operation this week are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Two Spirit Health Services, Inc. is providing information about emergency mental health services through their Facebook page.
The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida has opened its doors and has counselors on site for anyone who needs help. The center is located at 946 N Mills Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32803. The center is also helping to coordinate crisis counseling support throughout the Orlando area. These services are available in both Spanish and English.
The First Unitarian Church of Orlando
1901 E Robinson St
Orlando, FL 32803
10 a.m.–7 p.m.
741 W Colonial Dr
Orlando, FL 32804
11 a.m.–3 p.m.
6900 S Orange Blossom Trail, Ste 402
Orlando, FL 32809
10 a.m.–7 p.m.
If you are unable to reach a location for crisis counseling and live in the Orlando area, you can call this hotline: 407-822-5036 (press 1 at the main menu).
Donate to Help the Victims’ Families
Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe to support the victims and their families. You can make a donation to the fund and find more information about how to help people in Orlando on the organization’s website.
The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida has also set up a fund to help the families. Regardless of where you make your donation, both of these funds have been verified as ensuring the money raised will go directly to help families as they handle hospital bills and make arrangements for their loved ones.
Find Resources for Immediate Family
The National Compassion Fund works to help families affected by mass-casualty events and is distributing funds raised by groups like Equality Florida. Victims of the attack and their immediate family members should call Victim Connect at 855-484-2846 to begin the process of gaining access to these resources.
JetBlue is offering one free flight to immediate family members and domestic partners of victims who need to get to their loved ones in Orlando. Call 800-JETBLUE (that's 800-538-2583) and ask to speak to the Care Team to make flight arrangements. This offer is only for immediate family members and domestic partners.
All of our hearts are with Orlando right now. We know that the best thing we can do is share relevant information and pitch in where we can. As the next few days and weeks unfold, we all need to show up for Orlando in ways that are practical and healing.