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IN Community: What You Can Do To Help Keep Vulnerable LGBTQ2+ Youth Warm This Winter

Friends of Ruby is requesting donations of new and/or gently used clothing as part of their Winter Clothing Drive…

By Jumol Royes

The ability to shop for clothing and accessories to help keep us warm during the winter months is something that’s easy to take for granted. But for vulnerable LGBTQ2+ youth in the GTA, it’s a luxury that many of them simply can’t afford.

A local non-profit organization supporting LGBTQ2+ youth aged 16-29 is hoping the community will get into the holiday giving spirit and answer the call for donations of lightly used and/or new clothing as part of its Winter Clothing Drive.

Friends of Ruby is requesting donations of gender-inclusive clothing, specifically warm winter clothing like coats and jackets, hats and toques, gloves and mittens, scarves, big sweaters and boots, to distribute to vulnerable youth across the GTA who access their programs and services.

Formed in 2014, Friends of Ruby is “dedicated to the progressive well-being of LGBTQ2+ youth through mental health services, social services and housing.” To date, Friends of Ruby has supported over 1,000 youth, with 15 to 25 new youth accessing its Youth Centre each month. More than 470 mental health crises have been prevented and visits to hospital emergency rooms diverted. In December of last year, a transitional home for LGBTQ2+ youth officially opened its doors in downtown Toronto.

With LGBTQ2+ youth still being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, donating an item of new or gently used winter clothing is something each of us can do to help keep them warm this winter.

Donations to the Friends of Ruby Winter Clothing Drive will be accepted between December 6 and 10 during regular drop-in hours, with the last call for donations on December 13. Donations can be dropped off at 489 Queen Street East (lower level) in Toronto.

If you’d like more information or are looking to organize a pick up or drop off, please contact Brooke, one of the youth programmers, at bgangbar@friendsofruby.ca.

JUMOL ROYES is a Toronto-area storyteller, communications strategist and glass-half-full kinda guy. He writes about compassion, community, identity and belonging. His guilty pleasure is watching the Real Housewives. Follow him on Twitter @Jumol and on Instagram @jumolroyes.

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