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What You Can Do to Help Orlando

There are a number ways you can help the victims in their families in the aftermath of this horrible tragedy.
A vigil in Orlando, photo by Dylan Flynn

The tragic shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub this weekend, which killed 50 and left 53 injured, has led to a huge public outpouring of emotions ranging from rage to grief and everything in between. In the midst of all the tumult, many people across the country are asking how they can offer support in this time of need.

While blood donation is restricted to individuals who are local to the area or within reasonable traveling distance, donating money to help support victims and their families is not. Below you can see a list of your options if you'd like to lend a helping hand at this time.

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Donate blood and plasma

If you are in the Orlando area, you can find a donation center via the nonprofit organization OneBlood. They tweeted on Sunday that there is an "urgent need" for O Neg, O Pos and AB Plasma donors, specifically. There was an outpouring of donors yesterday causing their centers to reach capacity; OneBlood has urged people to make appointments for the coming days, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

To donate, you can call 1-888-936-6283 or visit their website, oneblood.org.

FDA rules restrict sexually active gay and bisexual men from donating blood, a policy that has been critiqued for keeping queer people from being able to support their own community. Yesterday, a petition was created on WhiteHouse.org calling to lift that ban.

Donate money

Equality Florida, a nonprofit LGBT civil rights organization, has set up a GoFundMe page to help support this tragic incident's victims and their families. At the time of posting, it has raised over $2,100,000 of its $2,500,000 goal.

The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, also known as The Center, has partnered with a number of local and national organization to provide an emergency hotline and crisis counseling, which you can donate to online. They are also accepting donations of water and dry goods to provide to blood donation centers and counseling sites, which can be dropped off at their office at 946 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, FL 32803.

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Many people injured in the shooting were sent to the Orlando Regional Medical Center, which you can donate to on its website.

The nonprofit organization Planting Peace has set up a fundraiser for the funeral and medical costs resulting from this shooting on CrowdRise, where there goal is $100,000.

People that are donating money should also beware of scams, as some of those are circulating. If an operation seems untrustworthy, you can check with more established organizations.

Attend a vigil

Earlier today we posted a list of some of the vigils for Pulse Orlando happening around the country, organized in a state-by-state directory.

Be a counselor

The Center has also asked for counselors from around Orlando to come in and help by providing their services to victims and those affected by this tragedy, reports The Sentinel.

The City of Orlando has also set up a hotline for family members to check in on their love ones, which can be reached at 407-246-4357, and a reunion spot, at the Hampton Inn at 43 Columbia St., Orlando, 32806. Individuals who live in Orlando can use a check-in page set up Facebook to let people know they are safe.