The Manheim, Lancaster County community is rallying around the family of Aaliyah Boyer, 10, who died after being hit by celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Day.
“She was just such a darling child, and she loved everybody and I’m just really going to miss her,” said Bengie Lindsey, Aaliyah’s maternal grandmother.
For Lindsey and her husband, Richard, losing their granddaughter, who they’ve raised since she was a baby, is just too deep to describe. Aaliyah died Thursday, two days after she was shot in the head by a stray bullet near Elkton, Md. She was outside watching New Year’s fireworks with relatives, including her mother and older sister Kayla Lindsey.
“People shouldn’t be shooting guns up in the air, because she’s a really special girl and she shouldn’t have died so young,” Kayla Lindsey said.
Aaliyah’s extended church family at Manheim Brethren in Christ Church, where she attended services twice a week, is now doing all it can to see her family through this devastating loss.
“Over the next few weeks and months, they’re going to have a lot to deal with and process, so they’re going to need the community to surround them and we as a church body and community want to do that for them,” said Youth Pastor Corby Burkholder.
The church is accepting donations for Aaliyah’s family to help cover the funeral and other expenses. Anyone who wants to d0nate can send a check with Aaliyah’s name in the note.
“I appreciate all the support, from the family, right down to the community,” said Bengie Lindsey.
Though their granddaughter is no longer with them, the Lindseys are comforted by the fact that other children will live thanks to the final gifts she has left behind.
“She was looking at my license, the one day, and it says ‘donor’ on it and she asked me what a ‘donor’ was,” Bengie Lindsey said. “And I explained to her what a donor is and she thought it was the greatest thing in the world, and I knew that this is what she would want.”
A candlelight vigil for Aaliyah is scheduled for Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Manheim Square. The public is invited to attend.
Those wishing to donate to Aaliyah’s family can send a check to Manheim Brethren in Christ Church: 54 North Penryn Road Manheim, PA 17545