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One year later Christmas Day bombing survivors still struggle financially, where’s all the donated money?

FBI seeks clues in "intentional" Nashville bombing
FBI seeks clues in "intentional" Nashville bombing
Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 9:27 AM CST
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NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Nearly a year after the Christmas Day bombing, News4 Investigates has found victims are still struggling to recover financially. And there’s more than $100,000 that hasn’t been handed out to help them.

Investigative Reporter Lindsay Bramson spent time connecting victims to help they didn’t know existed.

“I had about 50 text messages, phone calls and they all said the same thing. Are you 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 home looked like when she returned back to Nashville days later.

“I was in shock. I was in the true form of trauma shock,” said Bergeron.

Almost a year later and she’s still feeling the impact.

“A year later and I’m still not in my home. I’m not in my gallery,” said Bergeron.

So why is that? Especially when donations started rolling in immediately.

News4 Investigates wanted to know just how much has been donated. And here’s what we found out.

About $950,000 was given to The United Way and The Community Foundation. That’s on top of a $2 million grant. All money meant to help people like Ashley pay their bills.

She received a little over $3,200 .that helped pay for things like her mortgage and utility bills. And those bills haven’t gone away.

“Now that it’s been almost a year I’m now realizing okay wow, I’m going to need to ask for some more support,” said Bergeron.

And if you think all that support is gone, you’re wrong. Catholic Charities of Tennessee is in charge of dolling out the donated money.

“What we try to do is take care of the most immediate needs,” said Judy Orr who is the organization’s executive director.

But a year later, and News4 Investigates found out they’re still sitting on $100,000. Money that could be going to people like Ashley who still have the same needs, like paying rent for one place and mortgage on another.

“Why do you still have that money when there’s people who really could use it,” asked Bramson.

“If someone were to come forward now with additional expenses all of those would be considered,” said Orr.

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,” said Orr.

While counseling is something Ashley says she could certainly benefit from, money to help pay the extra bills she still has is just as important, she says.

“I’ve been feeling lately very un-grounded,” said Bergeron.

“Anyone who is still looking for help after the Christmas Day bombing should reach out to Catholic Charities,” said Orr.

News4 Investigates also learned Catholic Charities has applied for another $1 million grant.

They tell us this money would pay for staff and mental health needs, including counseling.

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