Stuffed: An Epilogue . . .

Santa arrives ... but he needs your help

Much to the delight of the children in attendance, the annual Macy’s Day Thanksgiving parade in New York City traditionally ends with the arrival of Santa Claus. In that way we usher Thanksgiving out and welcome the Christmas season in.

As I’ve mentioned before, I wrote Stuffed for many reasons. One was to brighten your holidays and I hope the story did that in some small way. But the holidays are not happy for everyone.

No one know for sure, but there are hundreds of thousands of homeless and runaway youths in the United States and still more abroad. Within that population are many young people like Woody who identify as members of our community, the LGBTQ community.

I’ve written about this many times before and I won’t belabor the point. My message today is a simple one. They need our help.

There are many ways you can help, of course; by volunteering with organizations in your community that work to assist the homeless and runaways. You can also help by making a contribution to organizations doing their best to help.

I’ll mention four organizations that directly help runaway and homeless youth that I believe are worthy of your financial support: the Trevor Project, StandUp for Kids, the GLBT National Help Center, and the National Runaway Safeline.

Since another story of mine, The Opened Door, is focused on college youth, I’ll mention two others well worth your consideration: the Point Foundation, America’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit, and CampusPride, a volunteer-driven network for and by student leaders working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students

Not sure they’re the right organizations for you? There are sites like Charity Navigator and JustGive that can help you identify the right charity for you and others like the Network for Good that will allow you to contribute anonymously if that’s your preference.

I’m less familiar with organizations in other countries, but I’m sure you can find them if you look. And you should look because there’s a lot at stake and helping someone young to address the challenges they face is one of the most satisfying things you’ll ever do.

And by the way, feel free to share your favorite charities that help young people, including LGBTQ youth, by leaving a comment on this post.

Christmas is a special season indeed and I hope you’ll do something to make it better for those in need, especially those like Woody who are young, abandoned, and far from home at the holidays.

Thanks for whatever you can do.

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