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By Belinda Carroll, PQ Monthly

Back when I was an queer teen, I was homeless for a year and a half in downtown Portland, because my family kicked me out for being gay. I joke about my family on stage now, but back then it was no joke. It was cold, scary, and the sense of rejection was profound. We didn’t have SMYRC back then, we had the City Nightclub and Outside In. If it wasn’t for those places, I don’t know where I’d be now, but I’m guessing I wouldn’t be in my comfortable house typing on the Internet for a living. SMYRC, HRC, and Q Center are celebrating MLK’s Day of Service, a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community action.  As a former homeless LGBTQ spectrum youth, I am asking you to donate time and money to youth. Up to 40% of homeless youth is LGBTQ, and the suicide rate is four times higher than their straight peers, you could be literally saving a life.  

How can YOU make a difference? By donating items and volunteering your time. 

Donate Items or Organize a Donation Drive 

From Today until January 19, please help us collect the following items, which are urgently needed by LGBT homeless youth: 

Backpacks
Flashlights, tarps, and rain jackets
Pillows
Bottled water and packed foods that don’t require a can opener
Socks, gloves, and hats
Handwritten cards of encouragement
Please consider organizing a donation drive at your work, school, or place of worship. If you are interested, please contact Gregg Moreland, HRC Portland MLK Day of Service Project Manager, at morelandg@gmail.com. 

Please personally donate these items. Please label them “MLK DOS” and drop them off at the following location from January 2 to 19:

Q Center (PDX), 4115 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR 97217
Monday through Friday | 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday | 10:00 a.m.- Please purchase these items from a Wish List at www.hrc.org/mlkportland and ship them to the Gift Registry Address in the Wish List. 

Volunteer

On Monday, January 19, please volunteer with us to assemble donated items into care bags that we can give to the LGBT homeless youth.

10:00 a.m., Q Center (PDX), 4115 N. Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR 97217 Please sign up through www.hrc.org/mlkportland 

Alternately, to assist in helping SMYRC move, please volunteer with us to help load and/or provide a truck to use in the move.

10:00 a.m. SMYRC, 2406 Northeast Sandy Boulevard #100
Portland, OR 97232 Please sign up through www.hrc.org/mlkportland 

For more information, please contact Gregg Moreland, HRC Portland MLK of Service Project Manager, at morelandg@gmail.com.

For more information about MLK Day of Service, please visit hrc.org/mlkdayofservice

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