By Gus Hernandez
As the winter holidays approach, the team at The San Diego LGBT Community Center is working hard to make sure that we are providing resources to our community members in need. When it comes to food resources, we have you covered!
Our annual Come Home for The Holidays is a free event happening on Saturday, December 9, from 4-6pm. This is an opportunity for us to gather together and celebrate our wonderfully diverse community! Join us to enjoy a meal from a local restaurant and learn about all the resources that are available from our partner organizations who will be tabling this event.
For those in need of a little extra help this season, we will send you home with a bag of non-perishables for your pantry. This annual event is so important to us at The Center because it reflects the importance of community centers in creating a sense of belonging as we share a warm meal, friendly conversations, and powerful connections with one another.
We know that the holidays can be a difficult time to navigate for some of our LGBTQ+ community members. Unlike in other places where you have to hide parts of yourself, we welcome you in celebration of who you are. When you walk into The Center for this event, you feel the warmth of the folks greeting you at the door, you see the smile from the volunteers handing you a meal, and ultimately, you know that you belong.
If you can’t join us on Saturday, please know that we have several other food resource options available for our community.
At The Center, we believe that food is a human right, and we want to be sure everyone in our community has access to nutritious food. Our food resource programs include two food banks every month. Join us for our Neighborhood Food Bank, typically held on the first Tuesday of each month from 8 AM-10 AM. Because of the holiday schedule, the next Neighborhood Food Bank is taking place on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. And we also have a special Senior Food Bank each month that is free and open to low-income seniors 60 and older. Typically held the fourth Tuesday of each month from 1 PM-3PM, due to the holidays, the next Senior Food Bank is on Tuesday, December 19, 2023.
Both Food Banks are in partnership with the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and are held in The Center’s parking lot.
The Center’s Project Compassion is a tangible, action-based program that offers direct supportive resources for unhoused and resource-impacted community members. It is a weekly event that occurs every Thursday from 10 AM-2 PM in the Main Center lobby at 3909 Centre Street, providing community members with needed items like socks, toiletries, clothes, food, and water. The program also connects community members to internal and external resources through case management. A case manager is available on site.
Now, you might think that is already plenty, but we also regularly provide food and snacks to our community when you visit some of our regular community groups and events!
The Center’s Lesbian Café is a popular, welcoming, inclusive, and joyful group tailored for women of all ages. Initially part of our Senior Services program, this group became more and more popular as we shared it on our social media channels. The group has expanded to meet twice a month now. Join the Lesbian Café at The Center every second Fridayfrom 10:30 AM-12 PM and every fourth Friday from 4:30 PM-6 PM.
Senior Lunch & Learn is a monthly presentation focused on the needs of our LGBTQ+ senior community. Lunch is provided with different guest speakers each month, held in The Center’s auditorium every third Wednesday from 12-1 PM.
Our Hillcrest Youth Center at 514 Pennsylvania Avenue and our South Bay Youth Center at 1180 3rd Avenue in Chula Vista offer free snacks to the youth who access our programs and services at each location. Both locations are typically open Monday-Friday, 3 PM-7PM, with different days for different age groups, from 10-13, 14-17, and 18-24 years old.
‘Tis the Season to Give Back to Your Community. Last year, The Center provided 11,937 food resource service visits to our community. If you want to help us continue to provide these life-changing and often life-saving services, please consider becoming a volunteer at The Center, or making an end-of-year gift to ensure that we can continue to serve San Diego’s most vulnerable this holiday season and through 2024. You can make a holiday gift through The Center’s website at www.thecentersd.org/YourCenter.
From all of us at The Center, may your holidays be surrounded by food, chosen family, and love.
P.S. Watch a video about The San Diego LGBT Community Center’s impact over the last 50 years HERE