Truly a Seat at the Table: Ensuring our LGBTQIA+ homeless youth have a proper meal this THANKSGIVING and EVERY DAY.
As the fall temperatures roll in and the leaves on the trees continue to change colors, many of us are beginning to plan how we will safely celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with our loved ones across the country. COVID-19 has forced many of us to reevaluate what is most important in our lives and how we show gratitude.
While many of us will experience the warm embrace of family around the dinner table or the socially-distanced fellowship with friends over the internet in the comfort of our own homes, the holidays will continue to be the most difficult time of the year at The Ali Forney Center. When you are homeless and often without family, these days can feel a little bit darker and a lot more lonesome. For our youth at AFC, we don’t want them to be. For over 18 years, The Ali Forney Center has been committed to feeding, housing, and meeting the needs of homeless LGBTQIA+ youth throughout New York City with dignity and care. This year, as we continue to fight and keep our AFC family safe from the pandemic, we need your support now more than ever.
Due to social distancing guidelines and CDC regulations, this year Thanksgiving will look even more different at AFC. While different, our goal is to not only provide a warm meal for every young person in need but to also provide groceries to each of the houses so that our youth can create their own meals and experience the Thanksgiving that they deserve.
We can’t do this alone. We have some amazing partners and individuals who have committed their time, talent, and resources to this huge call. We have partnered with God’s Love We Deliver, to provide pre-made warm meals that we will distribute at AFC’s drop-in center. In addition, we have our network of queer and ally chefs who have also agreed to not only prepare meals but to film instructional cooking videos to show our youth around the kitchen. We need you to join us.
COVID-19 has been incredibly difficult for all of us. It has been especially difficult for our youth who rely on our 16 housing properties for basic needs like safety, shelter, and meals. Food insecurity is real and is just one of the many things that the Ali Forney Center works so diligently to address. Food insecurity and hunger are a direct result of poverty and a lack of reliable income sources, making the homeless population the most vulnerable. Some physical and cognitive long-term symptoms of hunger are gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, headaches, hypersensitivity to noise, light, and cold, reduced strength, impaired concentration, reduced alertness and comprehension, and poor judgment. Most tragically, these individuals experience irritability, anxiety, anger, depression, and suicidal ideation at much higher rates. Annual food costs for AFC are $400,000. This year, that number has gone up to $500,000. We need your help.
Our goal is ambitious. Our ask is simple: give.
Your generous donation will help us cover the annual food costs and help create the Thanksgiving meal and experience that all of our youth deserve. Your donation will help provide warmth and joy to those who need it the most. There is no donation too large or too small. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we are stronger together. In this season of gratitude, know that we are grateful for you and your generosity.
We are beyond grateful for our generous partnerships. Thank you!
Gods Love We Deliver, Queer Anga, Allswell & Bar Bolinas, The Fat Radish & The Orchard Townhouse, Ad Hoc Collective, People + Food, SOS Project, Edy's Grocer, Ursula Cafe, Woldy Kusina, Jarry Magazine, Box Artist Management.
Join us in giving!
About The Ali Forney Center
Ali Forney Center's mission is to protect LGBTQIA+ youth from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.
The organization's namesake, Ali Forney, was a gender-nonconforming teen who fled his home at 13. He entered the foster care system where he was bounced around to several homes and was beaten and abused. Ali ended up living on the streets at the age of 15. Ali was dedicated to helping other young people and publicly advocated for the safety of homeless LGBTQIA+ youth. Tragically, in December of 1997, Ali was murdered in Harlem where he was shot in the head and left for dead.
Committed to saving the lives of LGBTQIA+ young people, Carl Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center (AFC) in memory of Ali in 2002. Since AFC's launch with just six beds in a church basement, the organization has grown to become the largest agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youths in the country—assisting nearly 1,400 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides over 70,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered-site housing program.
AFC's mission is to provide LGBTQIA+ young people housing and a continuum of supportive services to help them thrive and prepare them for independent living.
AFC has been heralded for our full continuum of care approach to services for LGBTQIA+ homeless youth. AFC's founder, Carl Siciliano, was named a White House Champion of Change by President Obama citing the wide recognition AFC's programs have received for their quality and innovation.