NORFOLK, Va. — Flowers and balloons sit by the taped-off Walmart on Sam’s Circle in Chesapeake as a community works to heal.
“At a time that we were supposed to be joyful and celebrating Thanksgiving, it was a reminder of pain in our community,” said Kelsey Mohring, a representative with the United Way of South Hampton Roads.
As community leaders hold vigils to honor the lives lost, support for the community continues to pour in.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the United Way of South Hampton Roads has partnered with the City of Chesapeake to launch the 'Hope and Healing Fund.'
“This will really be focused around solutions for violence prevention, mental health services, bullying prevention and workplace wellness,” Mohring said.
100% of the donations received will go into the fund, and United Way will not take a percentage for administration or processing.
Mohring said organization leaders will sit down with other community partners to identify unmet needs and form a collaborative action plan.
She said it’s much like the work they’ve done following the Virginia Beach mass shooting. One of the needs learned there pertained to better access to mental health services.
“And not just counseling, but alternative methods of therapy," she said.
"So, art therapy, yoga, dogs on call.”
She hopes this fund will help mend wounds caused by violence.
“Mental health is a major crisis in our community right now," she said. "Violence is at an all-time high, and our community needs hope.”
To make a donation, go to the official United Way of South Hampton Road webpage at unitedwayshr.org/chesapeake or text 'CHESAPEAKE' to 41444.
All donations through the United Way of South Hampton Roads are going to a dedicated account specifically set up for the 'Hope & Healing Fund.'
It will show all dollars in and all dollars out with supporting documentation audited by Wall, Einhorn and Chernitzer.