How You Can Help Orlando—Besides Praying

In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, we can all feel powerless.

Yesterday’s horrific massacre in Florida has left many people feeling helpless, but there are multiple ways you can help the victims and their families, even if you don’t live near Orlando.

  1. Locate Loved Ones

    ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 13: Police and law enforcement officials continued to block off parts of South Orange Avenue near Pulse Nightclub on Monday morning, June 13, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The shooting at Pulse Nightclub, which killed 49 people and injured 53, is the worst mass-shooting event in American history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    Drew Angerer/Getty Images

    Facebook has set up a Safety Check In page for those living in Orlando.

    If you have family members or friends in Orlando you have been unable to reach, call the Orlando Mass Shooting Family Hotline at 407-246-4357.

  2. Give Blood (If You Can)

    People wait to donate blood at the Oneblood center on June 13, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Law enforcement authorities on Monday lowered the death toll from the weekend massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando to 49, the deadliest mass shooting in American history, explaining that the shooter had been counted in the original tally. / AFP / Mandel Ngan (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
    MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

    Orlando blood banks are currently at capacity, but are asking people to return in a few days to donate blood. (For more information visit Orlando’s One Blood website or call 1-888-936-6283.)

    Sadly, the report that area banks have lifted the ban on gay men donating blood proved false.

    Here are other Orlando blood donation centers.

    Orlando West Michigan Donor Center 345 W Michigan Street, Ste. 106 Orlando, FL 32806

    Orlando Main Donor Center 8669 Commodity Circle Orlando, FL 32819

    Oviedo Donor Center 1954 W. State Road 426 Oviedo, FL 32765

    Blood donation vehicles have also been set up in the area:

    Asbury United Methodist Church 220 West Horatio Ave. Maitland, FL 32751

    St. Luke’s United Methodist Church 4851 S. Apopka Vineland Rd. Orlando, FL 32819

    Metro Church 1491 East State Rd. 434 Winter Springs, FL 32708

  3. Open Your Wallet

    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Nicolas Brown-Spino, 6, sets down a paper flower at a make-shift memorial in front of the Stonewall Inn as people gather for a vigil following the massacre that occurred at a Orlando nightclub on June 12, 2016 in New York City. A gunman who allegedly pledged allegiance with ISIS opened fired in the gay nightclub in Florida killing over 50 people. (Photo by Monika Graff/Getty Images)
    Monika Graff/Getty Images

    Equality Florida has launched a GoFundMe campaign for the victims and their families The $500,000 goal was met in just a few hours, and a new goal has been set for $2 million.

    Planting Peace has launched a CrowdRise campaign to help cover victims’ medical expenses and funeral costs.

  4. Contact Your Representative

    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Tribute signs are placed on statues depicting homosexual couples in a park near the Stonewall Inn where a vigil was held following the massacre that occurred at a gay Orlando nightclub on June 12, 2016 in New York City. A gunman who allegedly pledged allegiance with ISIS opened fired in the gay nightclub in Florida killing over 50 people. (Photo by Monika Graff/Getty Images)
    Monika Graff/Getty Images

    Now is the time to talk to your congressperson about gun control and a ban on assault rifles.

    Locate your local representatives here and your members of Congress here and

    You can also directly tweet your congressperson about gun control here.

  5. Sign The Petition

    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: People gather outside of the Stonewall Inn as a vigil is held following the massacre that occurred at a gay Orlando nightclub on June 12, 2016 in New York City. A gunman who allegedly pledged allegiance with ISIS opened fired in the gay nightclub in Florida killing over 50 people. (Photo by Monika Graff/Getty Images)
    Monika Graff/Getty Images

    A MoveOn.org petition calling for stronger gun control will be delivered to Congress and President Obama. It currently has 656,000 signatures.

    A separate petition on WhiteHouse.gov is calling for a ban on assault weapons. If it reaches 100,000 signatures, the White House will address the petition directly.

  6. Come Together With Your Community

    san francisco vigil

    Find a vigil in your area. San Francisco’s Castro District and The Stonewall Inn in New York both held vigils on Sunday afternoon with another one at Stonewall on Monday at 7pm.

    There are also memorials, church services, counseling sessions and more.

    They hate us because they know we're magic and it terrifies them, but being gay is an extraordinary gift. Shine brighter today

    — Sam Lansky (@samlansky) June 12, 2016

Don’t let fear keep you from standing in solidarity with your queer family this LGBT Pride Month. Hate will never win.
 

Pop culture and entertainment enthusiast. I know too much about the Oscars and Oprah.
@chrisreindeer