On Saturday in Buffalo, New York, a gunman targeted a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood. He opened fire in the parking lot before proceeding inside the grocery store, killing 10 people and injuring three others. Eleven of the 13 victims were Black, and they were grandparents, fathers, sisters, friends, deacons, and all important members of their community.
The gunman was dressed in Army attire, and livestreamed the shooting on Twitch. In his manifesto, the gunman specifically referred to himself as a white supremacist and cited a popular racist conspiracy theory called “Great Replacement Theory” — leaving no doubt that this act of terrorism was fueled by hate, racism, and white supremacy.
Not only is this latest mass shooting (among others known to have occurred over the weekend) a grim reminder of the ongoing, pervasive threat of gun violence everywhere in the U.S., it’s removed an important food source and inflicted unnecessary trauma on an entire community of people.
As we process this heartbreaking news from near and far, we can all be a part of helping this community grieve and heal.
How you can help support the Buffalo community as they grieve, heal, and recover
Donate food to The Buffalo Community Fridge
Tops, the grocery store where the shooting took place, is one of only a few grocery stores in the neighborhood, and the only one within walking distance. The grocery store will be closed indefinitely, and while mutual aid and ride shares are helping, access to healthy, affordable food is no longer accessible for many in the community.
Many parts of Buffalo were already considered food deserts, and this closure compounds the problem.
Community members are encouraging donations to The Buffalo Community Fridge — a free fridge that plans to meet the needs of those affected by the decreased access to food.
They’re currently accepting food donations, but have said they’ve already received enough monetary donations and are no longer accepting non-food donations.
They currently have volunteers at 257 East Ferry Street helping to bag, distribute, stock, and clean the fridge — and offer support to their community.
Donate to local food access organizations
In a May 15th statement on Instagram, The Buffalo Community Fridge said, “We are no longer accepting monetary donations. We are sending an enormous thank you to our community. We will be re-distributing additional funds to our fridge network, The Rooted In Love Fridge, and other community organizations in need right now.”
They recommend donating to the following organizations and mutual aid funds:
Rooted In Love works to alleviate homelessness and support those who are underprivileged in the Western New York area by providing access to fresh produce and hygiene products free of charge.
Feed Buffalo is a Black women-led organization that heals, educates, and transforms food deserts into thriving communities by providing access to free locally-sourced, healthy, and halal food in a loving, judgment-free community space.
Feed More WNY provides nutritious food, friendship, and skills training and believes that solving hunger is intertwined with the struggle against poverty, injustice, and hopelessness, too. They hope to see a day when food access and equity are recognized as human rights.
Donate to organizations working towards racial justice in Buffalo
This shooting was, heartbreakingly, racially motivated and rooted in white supremacy. Racism needs to be completely uprooted from our cultures, systems, and minds — and we must implement justice in response to our country's years of racial oppression.
You can play a role in creating long-term justice and equity in Buffalo and beyond by donating to Black Love Resists in the Rust.
Black Love Resists in the Rust envisions “a Buffalo where communities are sustainable and have what they need to thrive without external assistance.” They do this through “embodied leadership, healing justice, political education, and transformational organizing.”
Your donations can help their long-term efforts. They’re also working, in the short-term, to compile a list of mental health professionals to provide more therapy appointments, offer support groups, and more.
Donate to verified GoFundMe campaigns
A number of people and groups have organized GoFundMe campaigns to raise funds for those affected by the horrific shooting in Buffalo.
GoFundMe curated the top fundraising campaigns and verified them with their Trust & Safety specialists. GoFundMe has a “GoFundMe Guarantee” that ensures you can have the option of a full refund for up to a year if it turns out that a campaign wasn’t trustworthy or something wasn’t right.
These campaigns will directly support the victims of the shooting, their loved ones, and funeral costs.
Call your elected officials and demand they act to prevent future mass shootings
Though the gunman in Buffalo exhibited a number of “extreme risk” warning signs prior to carrying out this attack, the U.S. doesn’t have good systems in place for law enforcement, mental health professionals, or other authorities to intervene. And needless to say, our gun safety laws are extremely weak, and remain unchanged despite attacks like these.
And while gun lobbyists spend a lot of time and money getting politicians to not act on gun safety measures, gun safety and common sense laws are extremely effective and have strong bipartisan support.
Contact your local, state, and federal elected officials, share your concerns, and ask them to enact proven, popular solutions to prevent mass shootings: secure storage laws, extreme risk laws, and universal background checks.
(We previously created a resource on how to help stop school shootings. While this wasn’t a school shooting, the guide may also be also helpful in this situation.)
Donate to mental health nonprofits
Loved ones of the victims of the shooting and members of the Buffalo community are grieving right now and should have the option to receive mental health support.
A local dealership, West Herr Automotive Group, has committed to giving $300,000 for grief counseling and other services for the relatives of the victims who lost their lives.
Black Love Resists in the Rust partnered with Colored Girls Bike Too to create a mental health support fund to pay for ongoing mental health services needed in the community.
You can make a donation to a nonprofit mental health organization of your choice to ensure that mental health care is accessible to all, no matter the crisis, and no matter the location. Your donation can make a significant difference in the wake of future tragedies.
Fred Rogers once said: When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
It's clear that, in the midst of this tragedy, Buffalo is filled with countless Helpers. Those of us outside of Buffalo can learn from and be inspired by these Helpers — and we can join in and become Helpers ourselves by supporting them.
You might also like: