Update on Holiday Projects for LGBTQ Neighbors

We’ve been working with three local LGBTQ projects to support our neighbors during the holidays. Here’s an update.

Persad’s SAGE project works with LGBTQ elders (50+) and each year identifies clients who have minimal or no family engagement. Coupled with living in rural communities on fixed incomes, their holiday support isn’t really strong. In years past, we’ve banded together to make sure each of these specific individuals have a nice gift on behalf of the community. In previous years, donors have raised nearly $1,000 in gift cards, donated the food for a holiday party, and even paid for the project to hold bimonthly social outings for the clients.

This year, Persad identified 6 people and specifically asked that we solicit Giant Eagle gift cards which the clients have identified as the most useful. As of yesterday, they have received $300 in gift cards.

You can continue to donate through Tuesday, December 18.

  • Take gift cards to Persad during business hours 5301 Butler Street, Suite 100
    Pittsburgh, PA 15201
  • Make an online donation via the website (be sure to mention SAGE and gift card, or follow the instructions to email/call the Development Director to specify this is for SAGE

Our second project is the Proud Haven gift card drive. We started out requesting Burlington cards to help youth select winter gear. Then we learned about an urgent need for food gift cards to support 30 youth expected during this season.

We have a total of $405 in gift cards or donations made to purchase gift cards and came to us via your call for donations.  We also have Facebook donations coming in but there is no way to track if that is due to your article.  Also, due to your article we have had some great folks reach out to offer support moving forward.

I also heard from John Bratton of California Cycle Path yesterday that Starbucks has selected Proud Haven for Starbucks Project Give Good which means 25 additional gift cards will be donated this weekend.

If you would like to donate food gift cards to Proud Haven, please reach out to them as they have limited office hours. But someone will make arrangements to accept your donation!

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Finally, the Velvet Hearts, Better and New Voices Pittsburgh have been collected pads and tampons to support homeless LGBTQ folks who need them. They are still accepting all donations through Dec 31.

Donations can be delivered to 2958 Espy Avenue, Pittsburgh 15216 (close to the Hollywood Theater). Deliveries can be left in the big delivery box on the front porch 🙂
Donations can also be brought to Better. a studio for you in Bloomfield DURING ANY CLASS, and also accepted at any Velvet Hearts! show between now and December 31.
You can order via Amazon Wishlist and have donations sent directly from Amazon. Do NOT deliver to New Voices Pittsburgh because they will be out of the office after Dec 16 for the holidays.

When I asked for an update on products received, I was told “A lot” by both organizations. As you know, this is an ongoing need so please continue to donate as you are able.

In conclusion, all three projects continue to need support this holiday season. Deadlines vary, but are tight. This is just MY opinion on what would helpful right now if you are still considering a donation

  1. Persad has six people. It would be nice to raise another $300 by Tuesday so they can each receive $100 in gift cards.
  2. Proud Haven has met the goal for food gift cards and begun to work with third parties to set up more sustainable food distribution resources. But winter is coming and these kids will need coats & more in Jan & Feb. A general donation to Proud Haven is a solid idea.
  3. The Period Dignity drive continues through December 31. You can shop yourself and drop off items at the locations listed above – a terrific holiday project for a family. Get the kids involved. Pass the hat at work. Use those post-holiday shopping discounts. Or use the Amazon wishlist.

In previous years, I have primarily focused on Persad SAGE program. I worry that the decrease from $1,000 to $300 in donations is because I expanded my focus to include other projects. I don’t personally have $300 to make the goal described above. And I know that all of the projects are important.

Please do what you can to spread holiday cheer and raise the visibility of all of these organizations.

I made a collage of the organizations logos and then used tools to create this image. It shows that these projects and the people they serve are connected. That the picture is more complete and interesting by their overlapping efforts. What do you think?


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