New Jersey launches clothing drive for LGBT homeless youth

New Jersey launches clothing drive for LGBT homeless youth

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Garden State Equality is partnering with The RAIN Foundation, New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington) and New Jersey Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington) to launch the state’s first clothing drive to support LGBTQ homeless youth.

At the present time, there are no firm statistics on the number of LGBTQ homeless youth in New Jersey and where the youth are located. New Jersey has only one emergency shelter targeted for LGBTQ youth, The RAIN Foundation. The nonprofit is based in East Orange, New Jersey and has 12 beds for LGBTQ homeless youths.

A major priority for Garden State Equality in 2020 is to secure statewide funding to support LGBTQ homeless youth. In the meantime, the group is urging people to contribute to the winter clothing drive, where donations will go directly to the youth served by The RAIN Foundation.

“It’s a tragedy that the LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness in New Jersey are so deeply underserved,” said Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, in a press release. “We’re working on several legislative solutions to support these kids. But the most important and immediate thing each of us can do is support The RAIN Foundation — and the youth it serves — with clothing and supplies to improve their lives.”

“It is deeply troubling that so many LGBTQ youth are facing the hardship of homelessness,” said Greenwald, in an email. “The damage of even short bouts of homelessness to health is well documented, and there is an immediate need for winter clothing and supplies right here in our community. I am committed to supporting the LGBTQ community and to doing my part in raising awareness on this important issue.”

Greenwald added that LGBTQ youth are “nearly twice as likely” as their heterosexual and cis peers to experience homelessness. “We are so grateful to be collaborating with Garden State Equality, to help these young people overcome homelessness and to deliver much-needed winter clothes to these kids. Our office will be a drop-off site for essential items like winter coats, bedding, and pillows. And we encourage everyone to stop by and donate,” he said.

Lampitt echoed those sentiments. “To see these kids in such a desperate situation, in many cases because they were forced out of their home by their own families, is truly heartbreaking,” Lampitt said, in an email, “I am proud to partner with Garden State Equality and the RAIN Foundation to support the LGBTQ community in this way. And I call on the people of New Jersey to come together to support these young people who need our help.”

Elaine Helms, executive director of The RAIN Foundation, said, “LGBT young people don’t deserve to be without a home because they walk in their truth and choose to stand up for their right to exist,” in a press release. “No one deserves to be homeless, especially because of their sexuality.”

Tamara A. Fleming, board chair of The RAIN Foundation, said, “As we help [the youth] navigate through the variety of resources available to get them back on their feet, we want to provide them with the bare necessities that are sometimes hard to access when you’re experiencing homelessness.”

Donations will be collected until Jan. 31, at drop-off locations listed below, but Garden State Equality also encourages people to support The RAIN Foundation year-round.

“We’ll be actively collecting donations as well as promoting the drive until Jan. 31,” said Jon Oliveira, Garden State Equality’s spokesperson. The clothing drive is expected to be an annual event, he added.

Requested items include winter coats (sizes: M, L, XL, 2XL); winter boots (sizes: 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5);  socks, gloves and hand warmers; undergarments; bedding, comforters and deep twin sheet sets; pillows; deep twin bed bug mattress covers; towels and washcloths; water purifiers; laundry detergent; soap and shampoo; household cleaners; toolsets; deodorant; body lotion; hand sanitizers; paper towels; toiletries; and feminine hygiene products. 

 

CENTRAL JERSEY DROP-OFF

Garden State Equality

1408 Main Street

Asbury Park, NJ 07102

(973) 509-5428

 

Monday to Friday

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Please call in advance

 

SOUTH JERSEY DROP-OFF

Legislative Office of Majority Leader Greenwald and Assemblywoman Lampitt

1101 Laurel Oak Road, Suite 150

Voorhees, NJ 08043

(856) 435-1247

 

Monday to Friday

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 

NORTH JERSEY DROP-OFF

The RAIN Foundation

168 Park Street

East Orange, NJ 07017

(973) 675-6780

 

Monday to Friday

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Please call in advance and ask for Mrs. Shepard or Mrs. Watkins


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