The first funerals for the Uvalde school shooting victims were held Tuesday, May 31.
The families of Maite Rodriguez and Amerie Jo Garza, both 10 years old, laid their children to rest that afternoon. Private visitation services were held for the two classmates the previous day, each in one of the town’s two funeral homes.
Rodriguez and Garza’s are only the first of 21 funerals planned in Uvalde, Texas, over the coming weeks. Memorial services are expected to last until mid-June, according to ABC News.
“Off the top of my head, I couldn’t tell you how many. I think one every day,” said Father Eduardo Morales in an interview with WFAA.
His church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, will host 12 funeral services in the next two weeks.
“It’s as if [it is] one huge funeral that is not ending,” he said.
Aside from the emotional toll of the losses, Uvalde’s families must face the daunting task of burying all the deceased.
Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home posted on Facebook, “We have fought together as a community, and we will pull together as one now in our time of need.”
Both Hillcrest and Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary committed to covering the costs for the families of all 21 victims, per CNN.
Support poured in from without as well. More than three hours east of Uvalde in Edna, Texas, Trey and Billy Ganem of SoulShine Industries personally designed and donated 19 custom-built caskets to the families of the slain children.
Trey Ganem told NBC 5 that friends helped build and deliver the caskets in a timely fashion, including one who owned a trucking company.
“Awesome people out there that are helping us, I can’t even tell you, my heart is just so warm from everybody reaching out and wanting to be part of this, from sanding, helping do deliveries, and you name it, the community has opened up, it’s bringing us all together and making us a tighter community,” said Ganem.
The gunman attacked Robb Elementary School on May 24. He killed 19 children and two adults and wounded 17 others, including his grandmother.
The Uvalde massacre is now the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind only the 2012 attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.