Local LGBTQ organizations are true gifts to the community all year long, but during December there are even more reasons to applaud and support them.
“Many in our community are disconnected from their families of origin, and this is especially difficult during the holidays—not to mention the challenges of the pandemic,” says Tammi Wallace, co-founder, president, and CEO of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
“Whether they are struggling with food insecurity, keeping a roof over their heads, or finding mental-health support, we must be there as a community to make sure no one feels alone and that they have food on the table during the holidays. If we don’t step up as a community to help, who will?”
Here are some of the things that local community nonprofits are doing this month, and some ways you can help out.
The Montrose Center
The Montrose Center, which has been there for the LGBTQ community since 1978, has become Houston’s hub for queer folks with their regular events and programming at their spacious Montrose location. With everything from free wellness and educational classes to hosting the meetings and events of several social, civic, and nonprofit groups, there is literally something for everyone happening at the Center nearly every day. During December, they will be co-hosting the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s annual Holiday Food Drive on December 10. Then on the 11th, the Center will be packing holiday food boxes for clients. You can donate food on the 10th (see below) and come to the Center the next day to help pack boxes.
For more info, visit montrosecenter.org
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber is once again supporting LGBTQ seniors with its annual Chamber Holiday Food Drive on December 10. Drop off your non-perishable donations from 8 a.m. to noon at Signature Care in the Heights (1925 East T.C. Jester), or from 3 to 7 p.m. at Eureka Brewing Co. (941 W. 18th Street). Last year, the food drive provided the most food and funds ever, with all donations benefiting our neighbors in the Montrose Center’s programs for LGBTQ seniors. Help turn the table on hunger for our seniors and donate.
For more info, visit houstonlgbtchamber.com
This drop-in center for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness is looking for individuals, organizations, and agencies to help queer youth and families in need during this holiday season. Please donate online, or call 713.678.0733 to learn about other ways to help.
For more info, visit tonysplace.org
Montrose Grace Place
Montrose Grace Place also opens its doors to homeless youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities who are between the ages of 13 and 24 years old. Their Youth Night is an evening of food, mentorship, and skills building where youth and volunteers share a seated family-style meal followed by an interactive lesson or activity. Additionally, youth are able to “shop” for donated clothing, shoes, toiletries, bus cards, and snacks. The 6th Annual Gingerbread House Competition returns (both in person and virtually) on December 11 at 1:00 p.m. with food, drinks, a silent auction, and a raffle. You can donate and just watch the fun, or sign up your team now to get creative with edible decorations.
For more volunteer opportunities, visit montrosegraceplace.org
Bering Open Gate Homeless Ministries
Open Gate focuses on young adults ages 18 to 30 of all sexual orientations and gender identities who are experiencing homelessness. Their holiday dinner for clients on December 19 will distribute 75 backpacks to these young adults. You can donate cash or specific items for the backpacks, such as $10 gifts cards, toys, books, snacks, fleece blankets, gloves, socks, pens, notebooks, and phone chargers. You can drop off donations at Bering Church (1440 Harold Street) on December 5 or 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more info, visit beringopengate.org
PWA Holiday Charities
Founded in 1997, PWA Holiday Charities is a nonprofit that donates all funds raised through events and donations to benefit those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS during the holidays. Their 33rd Annual Christmas Show is December 12 at Neon Boots. The social hour starts at 2:00 p.m. and the show begins at 3:00 p.m. Last year, the event raised more than $60,000. So don’t be a Scrooge and get your tickets early, then pick out your best Santa sweater and cowboy boots for a fun time.
For more info, visit pwaholidaycharities.org