Food bank helping victims of Pulse shooting

When people think of food banks, they often think of the homeless -- a last resort for those living on the streets -- but the Pulse Nightclub tragedy has led to a new category of Orlando residents in need:  the survivors.

“The Pulse tragedy was extremely traumatic, and a lot of people were either taking care of a loved one who was injured and they’re not able to return to work fulltime, or they themselves are trying to deal with the trauma that they’ve been through,” says Lindsay Kincaide, Community Development Coordinator at the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida.

For most of the survivors and their families, there is no recovery and a lot of them are having difficulty trying to get back to life as usual and hold down something like a 9 to 5 job. They often need assistance to get by.

At the Hope and Help Center, there’s a whole room filled floor-to-ceiling with food for those in need. It usually goes to those living with HIV-AIDS, but since the nightclub shooting they’ve served about twenty pulse victims.

“We had the capacity to take the large number of donations that were being brought particularly to the LGBT Center and distribute it to the people affected by pulse,” says Kincaide.

They have all sorts of fresh, canned and shelf-stable foods and produce. They also give out hygiene products, including bathroom and shower supplies.

“All those things add-up when you have to pay for them yourself,” Kincaide says, “so this is something that we can provide so they don’t have to be going out and buying it.”

Many of the recipients will eventually get help from the One Orlando Fund, but haven’t seen a penny yet. The center’s staff says they’re happy to fill the gap until then.

“They show a lot of appreciation that the is community’s rallying around them and hasn’t forgotten about them and is going to be there for them as long as they need us to be,” says Kincaide.

They say anyone affected by the tragedy is welcome to get in touch for the supplies and support they need, and they’re always ready to accept donations.