81ºF

LGBT center raises $1.5 million after Pulse attack


ORLANDO, Fla. – 'The Center' is a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community outreach venue that’s offering assistance for anyone affected by Sunday morning’s murders of 49 people inside ‘The Pulse’ nightclub in Orlando.

The building, which is just 10 miles away from the nightclub, has become a place of retreat. Administrators said they are being overwhelmed by people in need of mental health and grief counseling.

”Unfortunately there’s a fear out there, people are afraid to leave their house, they are afraid to go out now. We’ve opened up another counseling line, because so many people are calling. It’s just that initial fear. Am I safe to go to a grocery store”, said Terry Decarlo, executive director of The Center.

Volunteers streamed into the building on Monday bringing with them water, food, and coffee and snacks. The Center is serving as a distribution point for supplies to help the victims families, first responders and medical personnel.

“The people have been stopping in left and right with food and water. We’ve been taking food and water to the blood banks where the lines have been a mile long. And in this heat, we want to be sure people are hydrated, and we’ve been taking food to the hospitals to people who have been working around the clock taking care of the victims,” said Decarlo.

The financial support has also been pouring in. Decarlo says the Pulse Community fund has raised more than $1.5 million in less than 48 hours and it’s not just the gay community that’s donating.

Decarlo said, “Everybody is talking about this happened to an LGBT club, and we are the LGBT center, but we are seeing every walk of life walk through this door. This tragedy has woken a bear, and this community has come together as a force to say we are not going to stand for this in our backyard. We are going to do what we can do to make sure everyone is taken care of.”

Decarlo knows two victims in Sunday’s mass shooting. He did not want to identify them because he says talking about it is too emotional and he's trying to get through his work day without breaking down emotionally.

Decarlo said Floridians need to realize there’s no right way or wrong way to grieve and he stresses the shooting could have happened in any community.

“Orlando is a safe city, it could happen to any city, unfortunately it happened here. And we’ve been doing a s well as we can, we have the counselors working around the clock,” Decarlo said.

 

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