Around Aurora

Donations flood in online to help victims of shooting; local businesses offer relief to responders

AURORA | It didn’t take long for nonprofits and charity organizations across the metro area to come together in their relief efforts for the victims of a shooting rampage at an Aurora movie theater July 20.

According to statements from the charity organization GivingFirst.org the total contributions have topped $2 million so far. The charity is a local branch of the Community First Foundation, and the money will go directly to victims and their families. The efforts brought a hopeful response from Gov. John Hickenlooper, who said in a statement, “The needs will be great, and we look forward to seeing the fund grow exponentially. This money will help those impacted by this tragedy begin to recover and rebuild their lives.”

GivingFirst is a common online charity base for a long list of local organizations that are all working to raise money for victims of the tragedy. Organizations such as Aurora Mental Health Center, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, Mental Health America of Colorado, Bonfils Blood Center Foundation, Metro Crisis Services, Inc., Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, Safe2Tell and Denver Center for Crime Victims have all contributed to the GivingFirst efforts so far. The push has brought million-dollar donations from supporters outside of Colorado as well — Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures both helped push the total into the millions through the GivingFirst site.

That effort has been matched by local businesses, particularly restaurants. Local eateries delivered five SUV and two carloads of food July 21 to Aurora police officers working at the Century Aurora 16 theaters and the suspect’s apartment in north Aurora. Those donations started when the police department called Hanava Business Improvement District head Gayle Jetchick at 10:30 a.m. on July 21 to tell her that 80 SWAT officers had not eaten for more than a day. Contributing restaurants included local businesses such as Gibby’s, Legend’s, the Summit Steakhouse and Elway’s. Local franchisees of chain restaurants such as Jimmy Johns, KFC, Burger King, Qdoba and Snooze also contributed, as well as Jammin’ 101.5 radio.

“It was amazing how we came together so quickly,” Jetchick said.

For those looking to contribute to the effort, the charity is accepting donations of all sizes at the organization’s website,

givingfirst.org. In addition, the following list of local charity and humanitarian organizations offers more options for those looking to lend a hand. Many are tied to the GivingFirst online efforts.

The Colorado Organization

for Victim Assistance

coloradocrimevictims.org

303-861-1160

The Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance has teamed with the Aurora Police Department to coordinate donations for victims of the Aurora shootings. Checks can be made out to COVA and mailed to 90 Galapago Street, Denver CO, 80223. Please include “Aurora Tragedy” in the memo line. Online donations can be given through COVA’s Giving First profile at: https://www.givingfirst.org/cova.

Bonfils Blood Center

bonfils.org

303-363-2307

The Bonfils Blood Center received an overwhelming outpouring of support in the hours following the massacre at the Century Aurora 16 theaters.

In fact, the Bonfils facilities around the Aurora metro area received so many donations, they’re still not accepting walk-in donors. The Center has strongly encouraged community members wanting to donate blood to call or register online in order to schedule an appointment and find a donor center/mobile drive. According to the center, there is a particular need for O-, A- and platelets; donors with those blood types are encouraged to donate.

Those wanting to give back but are unable to donate can make a financial contribution to support the center’s everyday operations, including mobile blood drive programs and patient safety efforts. Donors can give online at www.bonfils.org/giving.

Denver Open Mind Media quickly organized a T-shirt design and a fundraising campaign to benefit victims. According to a statement, “DenverMind Media has been strongly affected by the violence that occurred in Aurora, Colorado during the early morning premier of the Batman Rises movie on July 20. This shooting in A-Town hit us hard. Some of us live there. Many of our friends and family do too. We had to do something. So we did. We made a shirt. And we’re going to sell this shirt, and ALL of the proceeds we raise will go to the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance.”

The T-shirt, which features a black ‘A’ with bat wings over a yellow heart, is on sale at the DenverMind Media Cafe Press website. According to the company, all proceeds from the sale of the T-shirt will be donated to the Colorado Organization for Victims Assistance Fund.

T-shirts are available at cafepress.com/denvermindmediacolorado. The garments range in price from $15 to $25 and are available in a variety of colors and styles.

Looking ahead, the Stymie Canine Cancer Foundation will host the “Heroes With Us” charity event for victims of the shootings from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 19 at the Conservatory, 2665 S. Jebel Way in Aurora. The event will include food, music, swimming and other events. Entry fees are $5 for ages 12 and under and $10 for adults. All of the proceeds will go toward the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance. Information and reservations: stymieccf.org/heros-within-us-event.

Car dealer Ed Bozarth and his family kicked off an official fundraiser for the victims of the July 20 shootings with a $50,000 donation, and he’s encouraging others to follow suit. Bozarth’s donations will go toward medical bills, rehabilitation and general assistance, and the local business owner insisted that anyone in the community can help. To donate to the Aurora Family Assistance Fund, started by Ed Bozarth, visit edbozarth.com or call 877-819-0266.

Reach reporter Adam Goldstein at agoldstein@aurorasentinel.com or 720-449-9707

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