As the Charleston, South Carolina, community grieves the loss of the nine victims who were shot and killed during a bible study class at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night, it has also banded together to bring strength and support to those who need it most.
Local authorities, first responders, mental health groups and nonprofits have come together to assess which community members are in need of support, and are offering counseling services and collecting funds to help the affected families.
Find out more about these groups and how you can help.
Support Crisis Responders
Working with police, SWAT teams, mental health groups and other organizations, Coastal Crisis Chaplains deploys to the scene of any tragedy in Charleston, whether it affects one family or an entire community. After the shooting on Wednesday evening, the organization helped usher grieving families to a local embassy to set up a command center, helped accrue information to identify the victims and offered emotional and spiritual support, Rob Dewey, founder of Coastal Crisis Chaplains, told The Huffington Post. Its team of 19 volunteer and two full-time chaplains aims to “fill in the gaps” by connecting community members with mental health and spiritual services, and guiding ministers and first responders through the crisis response process.
Learn more about Coastal Crisis Chaplains and how you can support their efforts here.
Help Families, Community Members Get Mental Health Counseling
Staff members from the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Clinic (CDMHC) provided psychological and emotional support at the scene of the shooting on Wednesday night, and continue to offer support at the Family Assistance Center established by the FBI, and at vigils and prayer services, Deborah Blalock, executive director, told HuffPost. The clinic’s therapy services are available 24/7 for community members in need, first responders and their own staff. The group has also provided schools and local churches with information on how to respond to trauma and grief.
Donate To The Victims’ Fund
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley established the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund to help support the church and cover funeral expenses and counseling services, Time reported. The city donated $5,000, Boeing South Carolina has pledged $100,000.
Learn more about the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund and how you can get involved here.
Honor Reverend Clementa Pinckney’s Life Work
A fund set up in memory of Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the state senator and Emanuel AME pastor killed in Wednesday’s shooting, aims to perpetuate his life’s mission. All donations made to the eponymous fund will support church initiatives, and vulnerable populations and youth projects, which he was devoted to throughout his career, according to the Palmetto Project, which will be overseeing the fund.
Tax deductible donations can be made online or by sending a check to Lowcountry Ministries –- Reverend Pinckney Fund c/o The Palmetto Project 6296 Rivers Avenue #100 North Charleston, SC 29406.
This is a developing list and will continue to be updated.