OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — As the court process moves forward and key answers are sought in the Oxford High School tragedy, the community is coming together.
Support is coming in many forms from free meals to candlelight vigils. If you drive through downtown Oxford, you'll see signs of unity. Window and sidewalk messages read, “Prayers for Oxford” and “Oxford Strong.”
Step inside Woodchips Barbecue Express, and you'll see a labor of love.
"We just want to make sure that everybody is taken care of. They're going through a hard time right now," Chelsea Hacker, manager of Woodchips BBQ, told 7 Action News.
She says the owner decided to serve free meals Thursday to everyone, especially those grieving the tragedy that claimed four lives and injured seven others. Also, Hacker says 100% of any donations will go to the victims' families GoFundMe accounts.
"We want to make sure that the last thing that they're thinking about is cooking a meal for their families," Hacker said.
For Woodchips, this is personal. Hacker said two of their own employees are Oxford students.
"They're OK. They are dealing with the loss of some friends. So right now, they're out for a while," she explained.
Those student employees are taking the time they need to grieve.
The first responders to the high school shooting — some of whom continue to keep watch there — haven't been forgotten. On Thursday, Jon Dahlke and his young daughters Ella and Kinsley delivered some of those meals to deputies and other first responders in the area.
"A little gesture," Dahlke said of delivering some lunch.
It's a little gesture following one of the biggest days in Oxford history that the region isn't soon to forget.
"We want to be very supportive to the families, to the police, to paramedics. They all went through this. They're all a part of this. They keep us safe," said Dahlke, a community outreach director for Woodside Bible Church in Lake Orion.
Also in Lake Orion, a candlelight vigil took place Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Children's Park. Other local organizations have been planning vigils as well.
"When tragedy happens, people look for something they can do to help," co-organizer and Orion parent Heather Sinawi told 7 Action News.
She explained, "I think especially in a time after what we've experienced in the last couple of years, we put all differences aside and there's a power in coming together. So, I think that what coming together will do is bridge any divides and be able to let us somehow as a community move forward together."