Garlic Festival victims fund surpasses $1M

    First round of funding approved

    The Gilroy Foundation Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting victims fund grew to nearly $1.2 million this week, as the foundation announced it had approved the first applications for funds.

    As of Aug. 20 at noon, the fund totaled $1,167,431 in donations in the 22 days since it was created by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Gilroy Foundation.

    “It’s overwhelming,” Gilroy Foundation Executive Director Donna Pray said.

    The fund’s oversight committee was reviewing the applications, and more approvals were expected Aug. 22, according to Pray.

    Applications for assistance have been on the Gilroy Foundation’s website since Aug. 12, and are due by Jan. 31.

    The donations have been pouring in from fundraisers in Gilroy and neighboring communities on a constant basis. Pray said the fund received $7,900 in checks in the mail on Aug. 19.

    The Young Chefs organization in Gilroy raised more than $22,000 to benefit victims of the Garlic Festival shooting. The Aug. 18 fundraiser at Fortino Winery in Gilroy, with a dinner, raffle and silent auction, was attended by more than 350 people. The Young Chefs were participants at the cook-off stage of the festival.

    Pray said 100 percent of the donations to the fund will go directly to the victims, and the foundation will not be taking administration fees.

    Donations can be made at or mailed to P.O. Box 774, Gilroy, CA 95021.

    In a letter to supporters on Aug. 14, the Gilroy Foundation announced it was canceling its annual “A Day in the Country” fundraiser.

    “Our focus needs to be on victim relief efforts and helping this community heal,” the letter read.

    On Aug. 27, Pieology Pizzeria, 6955 Camino Arroyo, Suite 30 in Gilroy, will donate 100 percent of its sales of the day to the families of Trevor Irby, Keyla Salazar and Stephen Romero, the three fatal victims of the shooting on July 28.

    “As a local business, we want to provide as much support as possible to those most deeply affected,” said Sarah Rafiqi, the marketing coordinator for the event. “We extend an invite to the entire Gilroy community.”

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