BY AJ TRAGER
MICHIGAN – Though the holiday season is usually associated with hot chocolate, Santa and other festivities, many families in metro Detroit are unable to celebrate because of overwhelming medical bills, damages from the summer floods and job losses. As a result, non-profits and community organizations from all over the state are dedicating their time and resources towards assisting the LGBT community in this time of need. LGBTQ and allies are asked to take a few dollars out of their weekly budgets or an hour of their leisure time and donate to charities and LGBT projects across the state. “You don’t pay back love, you pay it forward,” Lily Hardy Hammond said in 1916, years before Detroit became the metropolis it is today with a community focused on helping one another.
The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) will celebrate their fourth year teaming up with Volunteers of America in choosing four to 10 families that will benefit from community giving. “Elf” Laurie Amalfitano and “Elf” Larry Iddins will facilitate the Giving Tree project ensuring that coats, hats, blankets, food, turkeys and more are provided to families in need. In the past, MCC has hosted a caroling event for elected families, but this year festivities have moved to MCC for the evening of Dec. 17 for a gift wrapping and “Santa Stack” creating extravaganza. To celebrate or attend the gift gifting event, call Amalfitano at 586-202-6682. MCC will be accepting monetary and gift donations during weekly office hours throughout the holiday season. Gifts can also be dropped off at 2441 Pinecrest Dr., Ferndale, MI 48220.
Alternatives for Girls is a center focused on helping homeless and high-risk girls and young women avoid violence, teen pregnancy and exploitation, and help them to explore and access the support, resources and opportunities necessary to be safe, to grow strong and to make positive choices in their lives. From now until Jan. 31, every donation given to the center will be matched dollar-for-dollar by The Rush Group, a Michigan-based automotive supply and trucking company, and the group’s CEO Andra Rush. Rush believes in the power of giving back and wants to “transform the lives of those who are often forgotten.” President Obama recognized the work and dedication of Rush — employing 600 Detroit residents — during his 2014 State of the Union address. To make a donation today, visit https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=alts4girls&id=2 or contact Pamela Martin Turner at Alt. for Girls at 313-361-4000 ext. 273. She can also be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many LGBT groups in the state that could use a donation to not only keep their doors open but also to further their work in helping the community. The Jim Toy Community Center in Ann Arbor, KICK: the Agency for LGBT African-Americans in Detroit, Transgender Michigan, Ozone House Youth and Family Services in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, the Ruth Ellis Center and many other groups such as AIDS Partnership Michigan, CARES Michigan and the Alzheimer’s Association-Michigan Chapter all need monetary help and support.
Affirmations has also launched a new program called the “We Are All One Family” project, designed to assist low income LGBT and allied families and provides many ways to get involved. More information on the project can be found in next week’s issue.
Giving back to the community feels good and will bring joy that extends beyond a new Xbox or a bargain Barbie doll. Check out the full list of non-profit organizations in the BTL Yellow Pages at