Sobering events and support we can muster


I’m in a bad mood. I would like to be one of those persons that walk around making positive comments and smiling all the time (ok, I was that person in my younger years), but now the events in the world are starting to get to me.

Sobering Stats to Start 2023

In the first few weeks of 2023, at least 69 people have been killed in mass shootings across the country.

  • A youth center in Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • A Subway restaurant in Durham, North Carolina
  • A beer hall in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • A strip club outside Columbus, Ohio
  • Two mass shootings ended parties in different Florida cities.

And that was just on New Year’s Day.

According to Gun Violence Archive, a “mass shooting” is a single outburst of violence in which four or more people are shot. This is not the same as mass murder, as defined by the FBI. Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit corporation, was formed in 2013 to provide free online public access to accurate information about gun-related violence in the United States. Since the start of 2023, the tally had grown to include at least 39 separate shootings in which four or more people were injured or killed. The deadliest shooting so far occurred over the weekend in Monterey Park, California, where a gunman killed 11 people and wounded nine others inside a popular ballroom dance hall during a Chinese New Year celebration. Yesterday, we woke to news of another deadly mass shooting in Half Moon Bay, California, where a lone gunman killed seven people and seriously wounded at least one other person.

Tragedy Strikes Home

As if the news of these mass shootings was not bad enough, I’m sure you have heard of the tragic fire that killed five members of the Cox family near Capitol Forest. Most of the family, two adults, and three children, were killed in the blaze. Their older son was not in the house at the time, and a teenage girl who was visiting managed to get out of the house and was treated for smoke inhalation at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia. There was another local fire that occurred on Saturday. Though certainly less tragic as it did not result in a loss of life when someone set fire to the historic Brewmaster’s House, a historic home built in 1905 and formerly known as the Henderson House. All this while the war in Ukraine continues, climate change continues to cause drastic detrimental weather in almost all areas of the country, and the Seahawks are done for the season (my apologies, I had to try to add something lighter to the list).

What Can You Do?

Normally, I console myself with some retail therapy, but that will not work in this case, so here is a list of some places to donate to ease the pain and suffering of those impacted by these tragedies.There are three GoFundMe accounts that have been set up following the tragic Cox fire:

  • Sherman Valley Ranch - Currently, there are no specifics as to the designation for these donations, but sadly and typically, these types of accounts go to defray the funeral expenses.
  • Cox Family Fire – This GoFundMe account is designated for the family's surviving son's expenses.
  • Only Survivor of House Fire that Killed 5 – This GoFundMe account is designated for the teenage girl, Kinsley, who was the sole fire survivor in a burn unit in Seattle.

If you want to show support for the Asian community who was impacted by the mass shooting in Monterrey, California:

  • GoFundMe has a centralized hub titled Monterey Park Shooting: How to Help with verified fundraisers for people affected by the Monterey Park shooting. There are currently three fundraisers in the hub, though more may be added by GoFundMe’s Trust & Safety team.
  • The Los-Angeles based nonprofit Classroom of Compassion is raising funds to make 11 public altars to honor the lives of those lost. The organization says it will set up a “pop-up space on-site” where mourners will be able to leave flowers, notes, or paintings to add to the memorial.
  • A team of nonprofits and organizations including the Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California, Gold House, and others, have set up a fundraiser called the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Victims Fund to support “the many individuals who are now suffering from this senseless violence.”

The tragedy at Half Moon Bay is still fresh and official donation accounts have not yet been set up. However, when in doubt, I always recommend that you donate to a local Community Foundation, in this case, Half Moon Bay Coastside Community Foundation. Community foundations are dedicated to strengthening their local communities through individual, family, and business contributions while at the same galvanizing the local nonprofit community.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) – is my favorite place to donate. WCK is first on the ground along with the first responders, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises. Currently, they are serving food to those impacted by the California floods as well as still providing meals in Ukraine. According to WCK, as winter set in, their teams established a network of new meal distribution hubs across the war-torn country. These centers offer a space to warm up during these frigid months while recharging mobile devices, accessing the Internet, and eating snacks. Centers have served families fleeing the conflict as well as people without access to heat or forced to spend the night away from home due to curfews or shelling.

By the way, since I started writing this column, the number of mass shootings has increased to 40, with a shooting overnight at a convenience store in Yakima, Washington. I will try to write a more hopeful and uplifting column next week.

Soliciting your ideas

If you know of a nonprofit that is doing something great, celebrating a success, needs some outstanding volunteers, or hosting an event, let me know! This column (aside from a little education) celebrates nonprofits!

Mary Beth Harrington, CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) lives in Tumwater. She travels the country speaking at conferences and to individual organizations articulating issues facing nonprofits. Send your ideas to her at


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