WATCH: The community is rallying together to support the family of Aubrey and Chloe Berry, and the first responders who found them on Christmas Day. Ceilidh Millar reports.
It’s a Christmas that was tainted by unspeakable horror.
In the days following the tragic deaths of Aubrey and Chloe Berry, an entire community is mourning the lives of the two young girls.
Many are left wondering how something like this could happen.
“The community is devastated by this tragedy,” said Hazel Braithwaite, acting mayor of Oak Bay. “We’ve had so many people reach out to each other and want to find support in each other.”
Local churches and community organizations have come together to provide solace.
On Thursday, the Oak Bay United Church opened its doors to those looking for a safe space to grieve.
“People are grieving for the children but also the impact that this has on our community,” said Rev. Beth Walker of Farfield United Church. “People are also thinking about the first responders who had to witness such a horror on Christmas Day.”
The Oak Bay Police Department has a program in place to make sure its officers get whatever help they need.
But residents like Oak Bay’s Sarah Johnston want to make sure those who were first on scene feel the community’s support as well.
“I realize it’s people’s jobs but we are all human and we should not be seeing [a] situation like that” Johnston said.
After chatting with others online, Johnston helped launch the Oak Bay First Responders Community Fund at the Oak Bay branch of TD Canada Trust.
The money will help buy food for firefighters, paramedics and police.
“We want to make sure they are supported and are shown that they are loved and cared about during this difficult time” explained Johnston.
Those wishing to donate to the fund in-person can contact Johnston directly at 250-818-6014.
Donations can also be e-transferred to [email protected].
While there is nothing that will numb the grief of the loss of the vibrant young girls, the community is coming together to provide some comfort by showing that they care.
A candlelight vigil for the girls will be held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m.