Winter Drive

At the GLCC, workers and volunteers have experience not only with daunting statistics connecting homelessness and poverty to the LGBT community, but also needs directly from the realities of visitors.

Sue Kerr, social media manager at the center, recited numbers including how 29 percent of LGBT people were food insecure at least one day in 2013, 20.7 percent of LGB people earn less than $12,000 per year compared with 17 percent of heterosexuals, and 15 percent of transgender people earn less than $10,000 compared to 4 percent of the general population.

“The community center’s a good vehicle to ask neighbors who do have extra to share with those who don’t,” she says.

The GLCC held a winter gear drive last year that collected about 8,000 items including not just coats and blankets, but clothes and sleeping bags.

After the success of last year’s effort, the center began the drive for a second year on Oct. 1 and it will continue through March 31, 2015.

“It was amazing how it really resonated with people,” Kerr says.

Some recipients of the items even helped volunteer at the center, sorting and organizing the items. Donations were either distributed at the center or to shelters and organization that are LGBT-friendly, which is planned again for this year.

“We’re able to be a conduit so people know their stuff is going to a place that treats people with dignity and respect,” Kerr says. To donate, items can be dropped off during the center’s hours from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

To volunteer or organize a drive, visit glccpgh.wordpress.com/winter-gear-drive or email info@glccpgh.org for more information.

Kerr asks anyone in need of items to call the center at 412-422-0114 to make an appointment, to help staff plan ahead.

The GLCC even encourages caseworkers, friends and family to seek items for those in need, who may not be comfortable visiting the center.

“Anyone can ask for help, you don’t have to be a teen, you don’t have to be LGBT,” she says. “It’s very much for anyone because that’s the spirit of what we are.”

Stacey Federoff is a Sutersville, PA native, Penn State alumna, and reporter living in Park Place near Regent Square. She has written for The Daily Collegian, The Chautauquan Daily, Trib Total Media. She loves music, vinyl records, coffee, running, and volunteerism.