Gilroy Strong Update
It has been just over a month since the devastating shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Those affected are still reeling from the heartbreak and working every day to achieve some semblance of normally in their life. Yet, every day we continue to see our community come together to support these families. The local Centre for Living with Dying program of Bill Wilson Center and Bay Area CISM Team have continued to respond to caregiving professionals on the front lines, children and families of shooting victims and survivors, with both group and ongoing individual support. They have offered community support groups in the San Jose area, and worked with not only first responders, but their spouses and families. They continue to provide ongoing support as the community builds our new normal – Gilroy Strong. One retired firefighter shared very poignantly, “ I always avoided Gilroy Garlic Festival because of the traffic, and the heat, and the crowds. Next year, I am bringing my family, I am bringing my fire family and I am inviting family and friends from Mexico to join me in attending 2020 Garlic Festival. Tell my Gilroy brothers and sisters, we have their back” People have truly opened their hearts to the victims and to the Gilroy Community. The Gilroy Community Foundation has received over $1.5 million in donations from people and organizations all over the country and beyond. Daily, they receive donations and even visitors to the office bringing in the proceeds of recent fundraisers. Heising-Simons Foundation like so many others, have contributed to the Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund to help our neighbors and our community heal. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation made the first donation of $10,000 to start the fund. The Packard Foundation made a major gift of $50,000. Kaiser Permanente also made a donation to the Red Cross and the Bill Wilson Center in the amount of $75,000. The Sharks Foundation also donated $10,000 to offset trauma-related expenses for the victims. Aside from the donation, the Sharks are hosting a set of fundraisers and will celebrate first responders during their Heroes Appreciation Night on January 27 before their game against the Anaheim Ducks. On August 14, SJ Sharkie also escorted kids to school on the first day of class at Solersano Middle School.