EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- The One Fund El Paso Task Force and the National Compassion Fund hosted a public town hall meeting on Thursday at Bonham Elementary School to include the public in the discussion about distributing the funds donated to victims from the El Paso Walmart shooting.
The purpose of the meeting was to gather public input on a Draft Protocol for the distribution of money donated to two local philanthropic funds for victims of the August 3 mass shooting in El Paso, which left 22 dead and 26 confirmed wounded.
The funds included are the El Paso Community Foundation’s El Paso Shooting Victims’ Fund and Paso del Norte Community Foundation’s El Paso Victims Relief Fund.
The Task Force is working with the National Compassion Fund, which will administer One Fund El Paso. The Draft Protocol is posted at nationalcompassionfund.org. It includes the categories of victims who may qualify, the application process for the funds, and when the funds will be given out.
According to One Fund El Paso, the total donation amount nears $6 million. The Executive Director of the National Compassion Fund, Jeff Dion, said they want to hear the concerns of the community.
“Most people have never dealt with this before they don’t know how it works and so we’re here to alleviate their fears,” Dion said.
According to Dion, there are four categories designated to determine who qualifies for compensation of donation funds.
“Categories include death, physical injury hospitalized overnight, physical injury outpatient treatment, and psychological trauma,” Dion said.
However, there are limitations to who qualifies based on when and if they sought treatment.
“You had to have gotten medical treatment by Wednesday, August 7th, and for psychological trauma, you have to seek treatment by October 15,” Dion said.
The coordinators said they are working to make sure those who receive income-based benefits would not have those jeopardized by the gifted donations. They are also working with the Mexican consulate to ensure those families of the Mexican national victims will receive compensation as well.
In addition, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar requested the IRS would not tax the donations.
Dion said those inside the Walmart and the parking lot, as well as the Sam’s Club and that parking lot, would be eligible for donation distribution.
Meanwhile, victims present at the meeting said no amount of money can erase the trauma experienced.
“Money will never bring my Gloria back, but it’s a consideration and it also shows that members of El Paso are sympathetic to those who are hurt,” John Orgaz said.
Under the Draft Protocol, the application process would begin October 10, with a deadline of November 8. Donations are accepted through November 25, with the distribution of the monetary gifts by mid-December.
For those interested in applying for compensation or more information you can go to the website here.