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A season of hope and help
Help make the holidays brighter, donate to any of these organizations

by Donald Miller and Bo Dean
As a gift idea this holiday season, give the gift of a donation to one of these amazing organizations The $5 or the $5,000 that you might be able to give in memory of a loved one or in recognition of someone you care about can be a gift that gives all year long. Imagine that person opening a card that says a donation was made to something so worthwhile in their name to carry out good works for the whole year.

Here’s a list of agencies around the Carolinas and beyond for you to consider helping this season:

The Alliance For Full Acceptance
AFFA is a social justice organization achieving equality and acceptance for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Charleston, S.C., and surrounding area. Get more info about sponsorship at www.affa-sc.org.

Affirm is a nonprofit, charitable organization in the Greenville and Upstate S.C. area whose mission is to provide direct services to, for, and by LGBT youth and their friends between the ages of 16-22. Through its efforts Affirm provides this segment of the population with support, education, social activities and referrals to related services. Additionally, Affirm acts as a voice for and advocate on behalf of our constituency. www.affirmyouth.org.

The Charlotte Business Guild
The Charlotte Business Guild is an umbrella organization for LGBT businesses in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. For this holiday season they’re hosting a party at the VanLandingham Estate (Dec. 20, 5:30 p.m.) and asking attendeees to bring unwrapped toys to be given to children of families who have relocated to the Charlotte from areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Call 704-565-5075 for more information. www.charlottebusinessguild.com

The Charlotte Gay and Lesbian Community Center
Charlotte’s Lesbian and Gay Community Center provides a home for the nurture and celebration of LGBT organizations, institutions, and culture; offers access to informational and educational resources and activities designed to empower individuals to achieve their fullest potential; promotes strong community partnerships and increases public affirmation of LGBT individuals through education, advocacy and outreach. More details are available at www.gaycharlotte.com.

EqualityNC is a statewide organization dedicated to securing equality and justice for LGBT people. You’ll find them lobbying the N.C. General Assembly, executive branch and local governments on issues like employment discrimination, hate violence, privacy rights, sexuality education, adoption, domestic partnership, HIV/AIDS and more. Visit www.equalitync.org for more information.

Good Ol’ Days
Yup, it’s a restaurant, but what these guys do besides serve food! According to owner Andrew Goldstein this year they’re looking for toys, clothing, gift certificates, canned food items and more. Items go to people turned away from Social Services and the Salvation Army. You can help by dropping off items at 3351 Pineville Matthews Rd. in Charlotte. Call 704-517-9911 for details.

The South Carolina Equality Coalition
The South Carolina Equality Coalition is a statewide organization that lobbys political offices and the voting public about issues of concern to the LGBT community. Well worth lending a hand or a buck too! Go to www.scequality.org.

South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Business Guild

The South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Business Guild is a not-for-profit organization supporting the needs of South Carolina’s gay and lesbian members of the state’s business community. For this holiday season, the guild is sponsoring a Christmas tree on the stage of PT’s Cabaret. The tree will feature the names of children from the Sue Kuhlen Camp for Kids. If you drop by the Cabaret Tuesday- Sunday after 8 p.m., you can pick a name off the tree and have the opportunity to provide clothing, toys and/or books for a child affected by HIV/AIDS. More info at www.scglbg.org.

The South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement
This super group of South Carolina maintains The Harriet Hancock Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Columbia, puts on the annual Pride celebration and produces a weekly radio show (among many other accomplishments too numerous to mention) — all on a volunteer basis. If you’d like to donate money or time, visit www.scglpm.org.

Time Out Youth
Time Out Youth provides support, advocacy and education to LGBT youth and young adults in the Charlotte Metro area. A donation to Time Out Youth is a contribution to the mission of Time Out Youth. When service areas are fully funded, donations will be used where needed the most to benefit LGBT member youth. Monetary donations to Time Out Youth are tax deductible. Visit www.timeoutyouth.com for information.

The OutWilmington Community Center
The Center is sustained strictly by memberships sponsors and donations. Your tax-deductible gift to the Center helps to make it operate for the LGBT and greater Southeastern North Carolina area. Get details at www.outwilmington.com.

AIDS resources
Coastal AIDS Resource Effort
Coastal AIDS Resource Effort stands almost alone, independent of the Hospital and Health Department, in providing resources for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Donations sustain this work and you can make yours by sending it to 412 Ann St., Wilmington, NC 28401 or visiting their website for more details at www.outwilmington.com/CARE.htm.

Metrolina AIDS Project
Metrolina AIDS Project improves the lives of individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS and strives to prevent further spread of this disease through services, education and client advocacy. Founded in 1985, MAP is the Charlotte region’s leading provider of comprehensive case management, support services, prevention education and direct financial assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Visit their website at www.metrolinaaidsproject.org

Regional AIDS Interfaith Network
This year RAIN is implementing the RAINDeer Project that offers supporters the chance to sponsor a client by sending a gift card from Wal-Mart or Target or a check for $25 to RAIN, P.O. Box 37190, Charlotte, NC 28237 (for checks please put RAINDeer on the memo line). Donations can be made in honor or memory of an individual. You can find out more details at www.carolinarain.org.

The AIDS Community Residence Association
ACRA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1987 to provide diverse, supportive housing options and compassionate care for individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. The AIDS Community Residence Association and its three housing facilities are located in Durham, NC. ACRA accepts clients from throughout the United States and its territories. www.aids-residence.org/

ACRA’s services include the operation of Blevins House, a 24-hour care facility for people with AIDS; Fitts-Powell Apartments, a more independent setting that facilitates access to community resources; and Buchanan Place, the area’s first scattered site housing for people with HIV/AIDS, which allows the most independence. Additionally, ACRA dispenses emergency rent and utility funds to people living with HIV/AIDS. For information on how to donate to ACRA,
visit their website at www.acra-org.com.

Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina
The Alliance mission is to serve people living with HIV/AIDS, their loved ones, caregivers and communities at large through compassionate and non-judgmental care, prevention, education and advocacy. AASC serves those in the Triangle community through direct services such as providing transportation to medical appointments, providing housing and skilled nursing services, as well as education and prevention programs. For more details on how you can help, go to www.aas-c.org.

Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services
If you are living with HIV/AIDS, PALSS can help you with your basic needs: food, a place to live and medical attention. They’re also there to help you deal with your thoughts and feelings. To donate, check out their website at www.palss.org.

Metropolitan Community Church
For many moving into a new area, MCC is their first link with the LGBT community. In North and South Carolina, there are multiple MCCs throughout both states. Check out their national website for an MCC in your area, www.mccchurch.org

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays are active participants in your community! They’ve gone to the school board to see that all children are safe, work with youth, maintain regular contact with newcomers, and are a life force for equality. There are PFLAG chapters that need your support throughout the Carolinas.
Visit www.pflag.org to find the one closest to you.

Heifer International
If you want to reach out to people in need around the globe, this is perhaps one of the most unique ways of doing so. Heifer donors, volunteers, staff and project partners strive daily to build communities, distribute resources fairly, improve access to education and preserve our environment. Visit their website to find out how you can help the world’s needy become self-reliant through your donation of a goat, sheep, chicks, llamas and more. Info available at www.heifer.org.

The Human Rights Campaign
One of the leading organizations that’s on the battle lines fighting for LGBT rights. Visit their website at www.hrc.org. North and South Carolina HCR www.hrccarolinas.org

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Founded in 1973, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation was the first national LGBT civil rights and advocacy organization and remains the movement’s leading voice for freedom, justice, and equality. NGLTF works to build the grassroots political strength of the LGBT community by training state and local activists and leaders, working to strengthen the infrastructure of state and local allies and organizing broad-based campaigns to build public support for complete equality for LGBT people. Contributions to the Task Force are welcome and tax-deductible.
Visit www.thetaskforce.org for more details.

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