How to help the Orlando victims

- Less than 24 hours after putting the call out for donations for Orlando, the backroom at Quench Lounge in Largo, was filled with boxes of food, water and supplies for families and friends of shooting victims.

The gay nightspot at 13284 66th Street North in Largo wanted to assist those hurting following the deadly shooting at the Pulse nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"We want to give back to our brothers and sisters. It's very devastating. Whether it be gay people or whatever, this is a national disaster," Gary Miller, who organized the donation drive.

Miller, who has visited Pulse, said he and other customers at Quench were in shock as news of the 49 deaths at the nightclub were released on Sunday.

"It's a place to go to be with friends and have a good time," said Miller.

"Of all places to attack? We don't mess with anybody, we don't do anything wrong, we just have fun," said Tony Mathis.

Much of the food and beverages donated will be handed out through Wednesday night to those giving blood. Many people waited in line for hours on Monday.

Miller said it's unclear where he plans to take some of the other items donated.

"We're getting medical supplies, we're also getting blankets, food items, tissues, you name it," said Miller.

After every disaster, people want to help, but some donations can turn out to be a burden on the city.

Following the Sandy Hook school shooting, 65,000 teddy bears were sent to the city. For months after the tragedy, city officials were left trying to figure out what to do with the donations.

Officials in Orlando are primarily asking for blood and monetary donations.

Governor Rick Scott announced the creation of the Florida Disaster Fund on Monday. Money donated will be distributed among organizations that serve survivors and the families of victims.

OneBlood is accepting blood donations with a focus on blood types O-Negative and O-Positive, which have been the most in demand.

The Better Business Bureau of Central Florida recommends people use caution when giving money. Most states, 40 out of 50, require charities register with the State Attorney General's Office before soliciting for funds.

 

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