BUFFALO, N.Y. — Following a tragic mass shooting at a Tops in Buffalo, the grocery store chain has partnered with the National Compassion Fund to provide financial assistance to survivors of the deceased and people who were directly affected.
Tops seeded $500,000 to start the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund.
"What happened was ruthless and heartbreaking," said John Persons, president of Tops Friendly Markets. "Those that lost their lives will forever be in our hearts and will never be forgotten.
"Tops is committed to supporting those families affected, and to help the community grieve and heal from this tragic event. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and we thank everyone for their incredible kindness."
All of the money donated to the survivors fund will go directly to those who were impacted.
"Our hearts go out to the entire Buffalo community," said Jeffrey Dion, Executive Director of the National Compassion Fund. "We are honored to join forces with Tops Friendly Markets, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, and VictimsFirst to increase charitable giving and help meet the overwhelming needs of the survivors of this atrocity. We stand in solidarity with all those impacted by gun violence."
People who wish to receive updates about the fund and plans for distribution are asked to complete a contact form on the Compassion Fund website.
"We want to commend Tops for its thoughtful leadership in partnering with the National Compassion Fund to provide direct financial assistance to the survivors of the deceased and those directly affected by this tragedy. The Community Foundation has received an outpouring of support from near and far asking how to help our community move forward. In response, dozens of local funders have come together to establish the Buffalo Together Community Response Fund coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and United Way of Buffalo & Erie County,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. "Together, we must double down – all of us, from every corner of Buffalo and beyond – to end racism. This is the only way to create real change and emerge from the darkness of this heinous act."
"United Way is dedicated to supporting and amplifying the efforts of our partner organizations who are working diligently to provide relief and restoration to the Jefferson Avenue community that has been so painfully disrupted," says Michael Weiner, President & CEO of United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. "The Buffalo Together Community Response Fund will provide important resources for both immediate community needs and long-term recovery."
In a release, Tops said that the fund was a collaborative effort that was born from a desire to take action for the immediate needs of the community.
"While still in the early stages of development, the group will listen to and learn from communities of color to develop specific guiding principles and processes for directing the Buffalo Together Community Response Fund resources," the release said.