Following the devastating shooting near Mandalay Bay Casino, you may be wondering how you can donate to Las Vegas victims. It's a valid question, considering the The New York Times has reported that officials are calling it one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. From the last update, there are over 50 fatalities and over 200 people wounded at the time of reporting. The shooter fired from his hotel onto a crowd gathered at singer Jason Aldean's concert at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
If you live nearby, then please consider donating blood, since, given the number of people injured and surgeries that will be taking place, blood will be essential. The Las Vegas police have put out a call for blood donations and have listed one address, but there are six different donation centers in Las Vegas. (See the tweet below for addresses.) Please try and establish their opening times before heading over there, and be aware that, thanks to the generosity of other locals, you may have to wait in line a while; according to KTNV 13 reporter David Schuman, the "line was out the door" at the United Blood Services on W Charleston Boulevard at around four o'clock Monday morning.
According to Newsweek, there are also prescheduled American Red Cross blood drives that will be taking place at the SpringHill Suites Las Vegas Convention Center at 2989 Paradise Road and Ernest May Elementary School at 6350 W. Washburn Road. In addition, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have stated that there will be another blood drive held by the UMC together with United Blood Services at UMC'S Delta Point Building at 901 N. Rancho Lane. There's no exact time set yet, but they ask citizens to stay tuned for updates, so it might be worth following the Las Vegas police on Twitter to do so.
If you're not based in Las Vegas, don't let this put you off from making a blood donation anyway. According to the World Health Organization, it's essential that hospitals have a regular supply of all blood groups and types in general to help people in "complex medical and surgical procedures," among other medical issues that require blood like cancer or pregnancy complications. And, according to the Finnish Red Cross, the enthusiasm for donating blood following an attack can sometimes be challenging "as dealing with so many people takes up lots of resources." They recommend instead turning blood donation "into a long-term habit and a 'hobby'" so that blood donations "in previous days are in stock and can be sent quickly in emergencies to the people who need them."
Donating in the long term is particularly pertinent piece of advice for Nevada residents; in July 2017, The Las Vegas Review Journal spoke to Jeannine McCoy, regional donor recruitment manager for United Blood Services, who reported that due to rising temperatures, the number of Las Vegas blood donations were lagging, something reiterated by My News 4 who described dangerously low levels of blood donations including the O-negative blood supply being at half the level it should be ideally.
But beyond blood, should you donate money? Absolutely. Get your wallet out for the Nevada chapter of the American Red Cross, which you can do via the telephone by calling (702) 369-3674, via a secure donation form online, or by mail at 1771 E. Flamingo Road, #206B, Las Vegas, NV 89119. You could also donate to Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada who cater to local citizens without access to affordable healthcare and who provide "medical care and support at no cost to the uninsured and underserved residents of Clark County."
If you'd like to see stricter laws in place with regards to firearms, consider making a donation to The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence, to Brady Campaign (who aim to cut gun deaths in half by 2025), or donate to Everytown, a "a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities."
Finally, if you've already donated blood and money and are an American citizen who is still looking for ways to help, please consider donating your time. If stricter gun laws are something that sounds appealing to you, call your representative and ask about both local and nationwide gun laws. You can reach the House of Representatives' switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Nothing can bring back the victims who lost their lives — but by pulling together, we can work to make a difference, however small. Here are some ways you can help the victims in Las Vegas.