Hundreds gather at benefit for victims of Santa Fe shooting

- An evening benefiting the victims of the Santa Fe shooting was a success with hundreds coming out to support the victims, their families, and community at Joe Tamborella Park for the Hearts United event.

It was a chance for the Santa Fe community to spend Memorial Day honoring our fallen military and also to honor the victims of the school shooting.

The event was planned by four Santa Fe high school seniors looking to bring their community together during this difficult time.

“So awe inspiring to see how the community is getting together today, and we’re just really blessed and happy that everyone is here,” says Annabelle O'Day, one of the four seniors.

Kaitlyn Richards, another senior said,  “We do want a change. So we all kind of started talking about it, and Annabelle came to us with this idea of doing something like this for spreading the movements of kindness and love and raising awareness for mental health.”

But an event of this magnitude isn’t easy to put together in less than a week. The girls decided to reach out to the President of the Houston Dynamo, Chris Canetti, for some assistance.

“Once I received her text message and saw her thoughts and what she wants to do, I knew that we would be fully committed to assisting in the best way we could,” says Canetti.

Many local businesses donated to the event. A local artist unveiled a painting that will go up inside the high school. A teacher from Santa Fe provided the entertainment. A silent auction with Houston sports memorabilia was bringing in lots of donations. Therapy dogs were invited to provide comfort to those in need. It’s a great start in the right direction, but the healing process will still take time.

Santa Fe Mayor Jason Tabor was on hand for the event.

“Everything is so new right now, everything is happening so fast so everybody is still kind of in that shock mode. So we’re about to have the Santa Fe strong resiliency center," Tabor said. "We’re going to be helping people get through that as well. We’ll offer counseling, any type of help we need for the long term for all of our city.“

A lot has been accomplished in the last week for this event, but the student organizers are not stopping here. They are going to continue setting up a foundation for assistance in the community.

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