DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — In the wake of tragedy, hundreds of community members have stepped up after two Durham 16-year-olds recently lost their lives to gunfire.
And now, a nonprofit in the city has also started raising funds to support those families affected by the violence.
Magan Gonzales-Smith, who leads the Durham Public Schools Foundation, said it’s a horrible tragedy for families to go through.
“We shouldn’t need to have community funds like this where we’re asking all neighbors ‘Can you pitch in to help this family pay for funeral expenses for their 16-year-old?’” she said.
This week, the DPS Foundation launched its Community Crisis Support Fund for students, families and educators who have been impacted by incidents like a shooting or a mental health crisis.
“That type of ongoing funding source to be able to be really quickly deployed once students and families are in crisis or experience a tragedy is needed,” Gonzales-Smith said.
She said both families who lost teens in the shooting last week will immediately receive $2,500 each.
The funds are available for immediate purposes like funeral expenses or short-term housing and food.
Ivan Almonte is the founder of Durham Rapid Response, or Respuesta Rápida de Durham. His nonprofit hosted a food sale to help the family of one of the recent shooting victims.
“We as immigrants, the processes is totally different,” Almonte said. “Because often times, we don’t have access to all the resources that other community members have.”
Gonzales-Smith said 100 percent of the support fund will go to those in need.
“Even if you don’t directly know these families, they are our neighbors,” she said. “These are our kids. We all have a responsibility to take care of them.”