This December, show your holiday cheer by giving back with time or money

LGBTQ and other community groups offer ways to donate, assist with services, and volunteer

by Summayah Smith (she/her)

With the holiday season in full swing, many local community groups are promoting their holiday and end-of-year giving drives. Many of us have more time off work and school and are looking for ways to give back to the community. Here are nine organizations, including several longtime Charlotte Pride collaborative partners, helping to spread awareness and humanitarianism in the city, and how you can get involved.

Poor No More Free Store

Poor No More is a community service project helping lower-income individuals and families in need have access to food, clothing, and other basic necessities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people have experienced financial hardship, and that’s why Poor No More assists with emergency funds and offers personal finance workshops, too.

Their donation drop off is located in NoDa at 2424 N. Davidson St. Suite 110, Charlotte, NC 28205. Currently, they’re accepting clothing, food, personal hygiene, household and pet supplies, and monetary donations.

Time Out Youth

Time Out Youth focuses on empowering and supporting young LGBTQ voices in Charlotte. Queer-led and youth-centered, this organization has built a safe, inclusive, and fostering environment through their housing and educational programs. Throughout the holiday season, they’re running their Give the Gift Campaign which lists a variety of ways to donate to youth experiencing houselessness and other challenges. Opportunities for giving include buying items from Amazon wish lists, helping to fund housing, and paying for basic necessities like food and clothing.

Twirl to the World

Twirl to The World is an annual fundraiser party with 100% of the proceeds donated to various LGBTQ organizations and initiatives around Charlotte. This past summer, they shifted their focus towards the COVID-19 pandemic, and the devastating effect it’s had on the LGBTQ community. Through their Twirl Assistance Program (TAP), they’ve given $12,634 to local LGBTQ members in need since July 2020!

And Twirl to The World wants to keep their community action going through the holiday season, too.  December 11th and 12th, they’re hosting another annual fundraiser party – and don’t worry, it’s virtual this year. The event will still feature an amazing line-up of LGBTQ musicians, performers, and speakers. If you’re interested, don’t forget to add your name to email list, plus snag a ticket – and 100% of the admission fees are donated.

Or if partying isn’t your thing, you can make a one-time donation here.

Twirl’s 2020 beneficiaries and partners include Winter Awakening, Transcend Charlotte, Crisis Assistance Ministry, Smart Start, and RAIN. Additionally, the organization announced that it will be committing at least $10,000 to the brand new Dan Mauney Legacy Fund, created by RAIN in memory of longtime board member and community leader Dan Mauney, who passed away in July.

The Relatives Youth Crisis Center

The Relatives Youth Crisis Center is a safe landing place for at-risk youth who are runaways, homeless, or are in transition from foster care. The staff works hard to put plans in place to aid families and help maintain parent-child relationships. Although not an LGBTQ-focused organization, the staff at Relatives Youth Crisis Center are affirming allies and seek to build an inclusive environment for everyone in the community; additionally The Relatives has a long-standing relationship with Time Out Youth.

Through state funding and community donations, The Relatives have also begun programs in housing for victims of domestic violence. With their support, residents are able to find or maintain employment, enroll in school, and even find affordable childcare.

Donations help to support not only these initiatives, but also educational resources like parenting classes and NeighborCare – an agency which helps children from low income families with medical care. Visit their donation page for all the ways to get involved!

Social Justice Emotional Response Collective (SJERC)

The Social Justice Emotional Response Collective (SJERC) is based in Charlotte and provides 24/7 crisis stabilization and emotional support services during times of social unrest. Over the summer, during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, they gave free medical care and counseling to street activists and even free legal aid to those arrested during demonstrations.

Through grants and community donations, SJERC is able to continue their free mental health outreach to activists and vulnerable demographics like queer and transgender folks. In addition to donations, they also have volunteer programs for qualified mental health professionals to help with outreach, as well as opportunities for those interested in administrative roles (plus, they offer class credit for some positions!).  Check out their site for the all details about their volunteering opportunities and donation options.

There’s Still Hope

There’s Still Hope is a trans-led nonprofit organization founded by the Rev. Debra J. Hopkins. Their mission is to provide homeless transgender people with temporary shelter, basic necessities, and other resources like legal aid, healthcare, and emotional support.

Although awarded grants from sponsors in the past, There’s Still Hope still relies heavily on community donations to help sustain their programs. On the donation page, you can choose to give one-time, bi-weekly/weekly, monthly, or annually. If you’re looking to get further involved, There’s Still Hope has a variety of volunteer opportunities in both their housing and emotional support programs, too.

Transcend Charlotte

Transcend Charlotte is leading the mission of supporting and empowering LGBTQ communities in the Carolinas — with a primary and particular focus on trans and gender-nonconforming communities. Currently, they are running two support groups in Charlotte. Their “Main Group” program has created a safe space for transgender adults to freely express and explore themselves through weekly meetings and additional counseling. Their second support group caters to the friends and families of transgender people to help cultivate a sustainable allegiance with the LGBTQ community.

Transcend Charlotte also runs workshops which target key issues in the Trans community, like domestic violence, trauma, and gender dysphoria. If you’re interested in getting involved, there are several ways. Monetary donations directly fund these programs, while clothing donations helps transgender individuals have accessible wardrobe choices that correspond with their gender identity. You can also help Transcend Charlotte by shopping through Amazon Smile, too.

Hearts Beat as One Foundation

Throughout 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Hearts Beat as One Foundation team have been out-and-about on the streets, directly supporting community members in need. In 2020, the organization offered a free lunch program and a food pantry, as well as direct support and aid to people living in Uptown’s Tent City. This month, the group launched its “Fill The Pantry” initiative, to ensure as many people as possible have access to their food pantry services. Those in need can access the food pantry in a free drive-through service every Wednesday evening. You can find recent updates on the group’s work on their Facebook page. For those with the ability to donate or volunteer, visit Hearts Beat as One’s donation and volunteer page to learn more.

Urban Ministry Center

Urban Ministry Center was established in 1994 and has spearheaded the fight against homelessness in Charlotte, NC. It’s not solely focused on LGBTQ+ community action but Urban Ministry Center’s diverse panel of directors, staff, and volunteers ensures that the space stays inclusive and safe for everyone.

Just their basic services like soup kitchens, clothing drives, and housing have had a significant impact on the homeless crisis in the city.  Urban Ministry Center makes getting involved easy with plenty of avenues to help including monetary donations, wish lists, and food and clothing drop-offs. Their directors have also launched “Operation Sandwich” an initiative where volunteers make sandwiches for food insecure people and pass them out at their site. Visit their donation page for all the details.

Urban Ministry Center recently merged with the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte to form Roof Above, a new nonprofit organization. Be sure to check out the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte’s website and Roof Above’s website for more giving and involvement opportunities.

Looking to give back and support Charlotte Pride?

Be on the look out for Charlotte Pride’s new individual giving program, Friends of Pride, launching later this month. As we’ve shifted focus during 2020 to focus more on intersectional community work, we want to allow you the opportunity to directly contribute to a variety of work. Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter here and be the first to know when Friends of Pride launches.