This is not what I planned to write about this week, but this week has not gone according to plan for anyone in the city of Orlando.
I heard the news shortly after arriving at church Sunday morning. At first I thought the shooting incident people were speaking of was the horrible attack on Christina Grimmie that occurred Friday night. But no, something else had happened in our town.
How could this be?
Details started coming in. 50 innocent lives lost and 53 others injured.
The immediate response was disbelief, sadness, overwhelm. The next question was,
“What can we do to help?”
Local news stations were reporting the need for blood donations. The city of Orlando heard that cry for help. As the day went on there were reports of people waiting in line over 5 hours to donate blood. People delivered food and water to those waiting in line to give blood. Then later news came that some donation centers were at capacity! What an outpouring of love!
As the hours and days passed the city of Orlando united like I have never seen before.
Here are a few acts of kindness and love I’ve heard about in the past few days.
- strangers with trucks helped get victims to the hospital
- over 3,500 units of blood were donated on Sunday
- food and water were delivered to people waiting in line to give blood including donations from a local Walmart and a Chick-fil-A normally closed on Sundays
- Pastors and counselors from local churches volunteered for grief counseling in various locations throughout the city
- grief dogs from around the country came to the LGBT Community Center and will remain throughout the week
- churches donated their buildings for funerals
- a vigil was held at Dr. Phillips Center drawing thousands wishing to express their condolences and grieve
- many local churches held additional vigil services in honor of the victims
Faith Hope Love
The outpouring of love from the city of Orlando has been heartwarming. The walls of division are crumbling as people unite to help people. Suddenly religious beliefs, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and personal preferences of every kind are no longer a barrier or even relevant. In the midst of all the pain, love is covering hate, faith in your fellow man and neighbor is being restored, and together we have hope to heal and move forward.
This week my heart has been full of grief and sadness but also love and pride for the people of Orlando. May we become an inspiration in this country as we ban together and love and heal and move forward. #OrlandoStrong
The image below is available to download.
Please share and continue to encourage unity and love.