Local school officials have established a fund to help those affectedby Monday’s school bus crash, which left five children dead.
The Woodmore Fund has now been set up at the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. The foundation will be working in partnership with United Way of Greater Chattanooga to make sure these funds are dispersed effectively and efficiently, Hamilton County School System spokeswoman Amy Katcher said.
Click here to read about a couple of other ways to help victims.
To help get the Woodmore Elementary School community through this tough time, we will hold a memorial service this evening (Tuesday November 22, 2016) at6 p.m.
A service will take place at New Monumental Baptist Church, near Woodmore Elementary, at 6 p.m Tuesday.
“We at Hamilton County schools ask you also keep the Woodmore Elementary School community inyour thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” she also said in a prepared statement.
Many community members have started working on other ways to help. A group in St. Elmo is making cards for the children and families, and dozens of people lined up Monday night to give blood.
Click here for more information about the Woodmore Fund, including ways to get help from counselors.
The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga also helped raise money after the July 16, 2015, shootings here.
Donations can be made here, and there’s more information on that page about where to mail checks.
Local mother Kimberly Mathis has also set up a Go Fund Me account that has raised $1,240, with a goal of $50,000. Her post has been circulated via social media.
“I am a Chattanooga mother of two elementary-aged children and cannot begin to fathom what these families are going through,” Mathis said on the Go Fund Me page. “I will be working with the Hamilton CountyDepartment of Education, Woodmore Elementary School and other Hamilton County personnel to make sure that the money from this campaign goes to the families of Woodmore Elementary School affected by this tragic event and would be grateful for any donations received.”
The Hunter Worley Foundationis also accepting donations to help families who have lost a child in the bus crash.
The organization’s mission is to help families who have lost children by offering spiritual and financial support.
According to the organization’s website, every penny donated goes to families.
The Chattanooga Better Business Bureau warned members of the public to make sure they know about the organizations they are giving to and take precautions to avoid scams.
“This accident in our community is such a shocking and emotional event,” Better Business Bureau Chattanooga President Jim Winsett said in a news release. “Many people will want to support and donate to the families of the victims, the injured children, Woodmore Elementary and the community. We are warning donors to be on the lookout for questionable solicitors and scammers, not to mention people who might have good intentions but no experience with charity fundraising or how to execute a mission objective.”
Tips to avoid scams include:
-Take time to research requests for donations. Check to see if the charities are registered with the state attorney general’s office.
-Watch out for vague requests that don’t identify how the funds will be used.
-Be aware of advocacy groups who generate requests. For example, some groups might raise money to support efforts to require seat belts on school buses. Donors can support these groups but should be aware they are not tax-exempt charities.
-Avoid unfamiliar websites, texts or emails that solicit donations.
-Look for transparent organizations that will outline what the money is used for.
-Working with an established organization might be a safer bet.
Click here for more information.
Updated @ 12:32 p.m. on 11/22/16 to add more information.