For the second year in a row, Niagara Pride will collect backpacks and school supplies throughout the month of August to be donated to LGBTQ+ youth in need.
Last year, Niagara Pride set a goal of 50 filled backpacks and collected 76. This year, organizers said they hope to collect 150 back packs, filled with needed supplies such as notebooks, binders, pens, markers, face masks, facial tissue and hand sanitizer.
Niagara Pride will once again work with GSAs (Gay Straight Alliances) at local schools to distribute the items.
Donation drop-off locations, dates and times are as follows:
√ Sunday, Aug. 8, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lockkeeper Café (272 East Ave., Lockport) during the Niagara Pride Coffee Klatch Meet Up.
√ Friday, Aug. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hyde Park in Niagara Falls (near the Veterans Memorial). Look for the blue tent with the rainbow Pride flag and banner at the donation table.
√ Saturday, Aug. 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Boulevard Consumer Square (1561-1703 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst). Look for the blue tent with the rainbow Pride flag and banner at the donation table.
√ Sunday, Aug. 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (140 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls). Look for the blue tent with the rainbow Pride flag and banner at the donation table.
√ Friday, Aug. 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Canal Street in Lockport, next to Lake Effect Ice Cream. Look for the rainbow Pride flag and banner at the donation table.
√ Sunday, Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Spot Coffee (54 Webster St., North Tonawanda) during the Niagara Pride Coffee Klatch Meet Up.
Niagara Pride President Ronald Piaseczny said, “Our organization believes this yearly drive is important to not only help LGBTQ+ youth in need, but also bring awareness to some issues impacting LGBTQ+ children. Studies have shown that 9% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months, with more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth having seriously considered; 71% of LGBTQ+ youth reported feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in the past year; 2 in 3 LGBTQ+ youth reported that someone tried to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity; youth who have undergone conversion therapy are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who did not; and 71% of LGBTQ youth reported discrimination due to either their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“This drive is wonderful opportunity to help local kids and make the start of the new school year a little less stressful and supportive.”
Niagara Pride Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ+ individuals and families. It offers community-based educational programming and engages in charitable work for numerous organizations in Niagara County and the surrounding counties of Western New York. Niagara Pride hosts social meet-ups, a monthly lunch and learn series (where community providers can share information about their services), as well as free diversity and inclusion training for organizations and businesses. Niagara Pride holds June Pride events, including “WNY Shopping with Pride,” a weeklong event highlighting local LGBTQ+-owned and ally businesses. As part of its charitable outreach, it has multiple donations drives throughout the year, which benefit local individuals, families and children in need. Niagara Pride also facilitates welcoming social events, creating safe spaces in the community for LGBTQ+ individuals.
As a sneak preview for September, Niagara Pride announced “The Haunted Forests” will donate a portion of ticket sales made on the weekend of Sept. 23-26, 2021 to the organization. Activities include the haunted barn, hayride and corn maze. There are also family-friendly, less-spooky adventures as well.