Thurston County's Hidden Sector

How to help families in Uvalde this Memorial Day Weekend


If you regularly read this column, you know that I am from Texas. While I spent most of my time 400 miles from Uvalde, the tragedy in that town affects me deeply; I am sure that it impacts you, too.

Get to Know Uvalde

Uvalde is a town of 16,000, smaller than Tumwater, and a low economic area. Before this week, most people never heard of Uvalde unless you were driving Highway 90 between San Antonio and Del Rio, it’s about the halfway mark.

One of the largest trees in Texas is in the area, at nearly 100 feet tall and 438” in circumference, which I realize is not like anything here! The second-largest bat population in the world is also in the area, and the county of Uvalde is known as the honey capital of the world for its production of huajillo honey a mild, light-colored honey that was discovered there in the 1800s. Actor and proud Texan, Matthew McConaughey as well as Dale Evans were born in Uvalde. The city and county were named for Spaniard Juan de Ugalde and the Frio River, which runs through the county, was mentioned in the George Strait song “All My Ex’s Live in Texas”.

Uvalde is Infamous Now

Chances are if an 18-year-old had not committed mass murder in an elementary school there, you would never have heard of Uvalde, but now this town, like so many others, is infamous. A friend of mine from the area said that Starbucks employees drove in from San Antonio to work the coffee shop so that the regular employees could grieve. I do not know this for sure, but I suspect that everyone in Uvalde knows someone who was killed. What I do know for sure is that every citizen in that town has been traumatized and is forever changed by this event. I was born in Dallas, six months after the Kennedy Assassination, and I know how that tragedy impacted my family and my city. It took the success of the Dallas Cowboys and a TV show for the rest of the world to stop referring to us as ‘the city of hate.’

What You Can Do

 So why write this column today? Why not wait until my normal schedule of Tuesday? Because these wonderful people need your help. This weekend they will start burying their dead. Texas is on the lower end of the spectrum for funeral costs, but still, the average cost for a funeral in Texas is just under $7,000 and you do not get a discount if the funeral is for a child rather than an adult. Also, when an adult dies, there is often a life insurance policy to cover the funeral expense. Few people have life insurance policies for their children. So, on top of the inconsolable grief, these families now must find a way to pay to bury their loved ones. Not to mention the victims who lived and are now facing mounting hospital costs.

The following funds have been established to support the families. I have worked for or with all of these organizations and know them to be good and reputable.

First State Bank of Uvalde -

  • Make checks payable to “Robb School Memorial Fund”
  • Checks can also be mailed to 200 E. Nopal St., Uvalde, TX 78801
  • For Zelle donations, send to

Catholic Charities -

  • Catholic Charities is providing emergency financial assistance for family members who need to travel to Uvalde. All services provided to those affected by the school shooting are free to everyone regardless of religious affiliation.

San Antonio Area Foundation

  • Bexar (pronounced bear) County District Attorney Joe Gonzales announced his office is working with the San Antonio Area Foundation to establish two funds that will turn over 100% of the proceeds to families directly impacted by the shooting or provide long-term assistance to the Uvalde community.

United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County -

  • The United with Uvalde Fund has been established to support the victims’ families and the community saying 100% of the fund will support the Uvalde community with immediate and long-term mental health resources.

The Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country -

  • Established the Uvalde Strong Fund to support victims, their families, and others affected by the mass shooting incident.
  • Checks can be made out to Uvalde Strong Fund and mailed to:
    Uvalde Strong Fund
    Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country
    241 Earl Garrett Street
    Kerrville, Texas 78028

All donations to these organizations are tax-deductible and by indicating that your donation is for the families in Uvalde, 100% of your donation will go to supporting them. Thank you for your generosity.

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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