Outrage. Grief. Panic. Exhaustion. Heartbreak.
These are just a few of the overwhelming emotions Ventura County residents are feeling in the wake of tragic and overlapping events devastating our shared community – the mass shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks and the Woolsey and Hill Fires.
Every year, we send out a Thanksgiving letter to let you know how grateful we are for your support of Interface. This season, we can only acknowledge how gratitude takes on new and different meaning when our community is living through horror. The people Interface is serving right now, today, are literally grateful they lived to see another day.
When you’re grateful for –
a safe place to sleep because a massive wildfire threatened to keep you from your own bed;
an empathetic ear to listen to as much – or as little – as you’re ready to say;
your family, friends, and pets being safe from harm, even if your home is not –
It’s a different kind of gratitude.
Since the shooting, Interface has been counseling victims and survivors, including family, friends, and colleagues of those killed and wounded. Many are young adults, 18 to 30, some students, who lack resources to carry them through even the short-term. Many were hit by both tragedies, first surviving the shooting, then losing access to their homes and loved ones – because of the fires. Some worked at Borderline, and so have lost their jobs as well.
BECAUSE OF YOU, INTERFACE IS THERE FOR VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF THE BORDERLINE SHOOTING
We are working round-the-clock to provide whatever they need: Counseling, groceries and other basic needs, help replace personal effects lost in the chaos.
ALSO BECAUSE OF YOUR SUPPORT, INTERFACE CONTINUES TO ANSWER THE CALLS AND TEXTS POURING INTO 2-1-1 FROM PEOPLE AFFECTED BY THE WOOLSEY AND HILL FIRES
The resources we’ve brought together help people locate evacuation centers, find free short-term housing, receive immediate crisis counseling, register for assistance, get N95 particulate air filter masks, get transportation to evacuate, find shelter for pets, and more.
The complex trauma that comes with mass shootings and devastating wildfires is enormous. Ventura County faces an unprecedented challenge – to confront the trauma that comes from both of these horrific events happening in our community simultaneously – and to find a way forward, toward healing.
As far away as that may feel, we believe we can, and will, heal together. And we believe that because of you. You have already made help possible for thousands affected by these devastating disasters. Your support will make healing possible, too, when the time for healing comes. When we are ready to move forward, we will, together.
And for that, we are truly grateful. Thank you for being there for our community.
As part of your community, we at Interface are – as always – here for you, too. Wishing you safety, peace of mind, and great care this holiday.
Interface Children & Family Services