By Lindsay Bramson
NASHVILLE (WSMV) – Almost a year after the Christmas Day bombing, News4 Investigates discovered that the victims were still struggling to recover financially. And there is over $ 100,000 that has not been distributed to help them. Investigative reporter Lindsay Bramson has spent time connecting victims to help them they never knew existed. “I got about 50 texts, phone calls… and they all said the same thing. It’s okay, ”said Ashley Bergeron, who was out of town the morning the bomb went off. Bergeron has an apartment, which also serves as an art gallery, Swipe Right Art, on 3rd Avenue in downtown Nashville. She couldn’t believe what her house looked like when she returned to Nashville a few days later. “I was shocked. I was in the true form of traumatic shock,” Bergeron said. Almost a year later, she is still feeling the impact. “A year later and I’m still not home. I’m not in my gallery, “said Bergeron. So why is that? Especially when the donations started pouring in immediately. News4 Investigates wanted to know how much had been given. And here is what we found out. $ 950,000 had was given to the United Way and the Community Foundation. This is in addition to a grant of $ 2 million. All the money is going to help people like Ashley pay their bills.
She received just over $ 3,200 which helped pay off things like her mortgage and utility bills. And those bills haven’t gone away. “Now that it’s been almost a year, I realize that okay, I’m going to have to ask for a little more support,” said Bergeron.
And if you think all of that support is gone, you’d be wrong. Catholic Charities of Tennessee is responsible for distributing the donated money. “What we’re trying to do is meet the most immediate needs,” said Judy Orr, executive director of the organization. But a year later, News4 Investigates discovered they were still sitting on $ 100,000. Money that could go to people like Ashley who still have the same needs, like paying rent in one place and mortgaging another. “Why do you still have this money when there are people out there who could really use it,” Bramson asked. “If someone showed up now with additional expenses, all of those would be factored in,” Orr said. Right now Catholic Charities is working with 25 people, but they say they want more people like Ashley to come forward. “What we’re also seeing is this need for mental health support,” Orr said. While the counseling is something Ashley says she could definitely benefit from, the money to help pay the extra bills she still has is just as important, she says. “I’ve been feeling very landless lately,” said Bergeron. “Anyone still looking for help after the Christmas Day bombing should contact Catholic charities,” Orr said. News4 Investigates also learned that Catholic Charities had requested another $ 1 million grant. They tell us that this money would pay for staff and mental health needs, including counseling.
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