Relief for shooting survivors – VCCF ft. in LA Times

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This feature was published in the LA Times on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde.

Charity distributes $3.6 million donated to aid families of Borderline bar attack.

THE SCENE outside the Borderline Bar and Grill after the 2018 shooting. The Ventura County Community Foundation has distributed donations of $3.6 million to help 200 people affected by the violence.

Four months after a dozen people were killed in a mass shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, more than $3 million in donations has been given to the victims’ families.

Checks totaling $3.6 million were recently distributed to more than 200 people who lost loved ones, were injured in the Nov. 8 shooting or were there when the attack happened, said Vanessa Bechtel, chief executive of the Ventura County Community Foundation.

Thousands of people from across the country and world have hosted fundraisers for the victims or donated directly to the foundation, she said.

“It was just a massive effort,” Bechtel said. “I’ve never witnessed this outpouring of support.”

The funds were divided into three tiers: 70% of the money was given to families who lost loved ones in the shooting, 20% was distributed to survivors who were physically injured in the bar and 10% was given to people who were inside the bar when the gunfire erupted.

The money will help with costs such as medical bills, mental health treatment and lost income, Bechtel said.

The shooting shocked the community. And it was just the initial blow of a withering assault on the close-knit suburb, which then had to contend with two massive wildfires that erupted nearby, displacing many who had just lost family members.

The most recent disbursement of money is the third distribution of funds from the foundation. Smaller donations were given to victims immediately after the shooting, and later, $20,000 was provided for burial costs to each family who lost loved ones in the shooting, Bechtel said.

The foundation is still collecting donations, she said. “There are still a lot of unmet needs.”

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