File photo: Hundreds gathered at Gorgas Park Thursday for a prayer vigil following Tuesday's deadly shooting at Roxborough High School. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)
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A group of Pennsylvania prisoners, many of them serving life sentences for gun crimes, is pooling together their own funds to help Philadelphia families who lose a child to gun violence.
The Community Bereavement Fund is a partnership between Right 2 Redemption, a statewide prisoners’ rights group, and G.R.O.W.N., a Philadelphia nonprofit founded by formerly incarcerated men who now work to prevent shootings.
The idea for the project came up about a year and a half ago as Philly’s gun violence crisis began affecting more and more children, said G.R.O.W.N founder Donnell Drinks. So far this year, 186 people under 18 have been shot, 26 of them fatally according to the Office of the Controller.
“The bulk of the money came from men on the inside with their donations, trying to give back to the community,” Drinks said. “To show that they want to be a part of the fabric of healing our communities.”