Your trash, their treasure: Donate to assist Atlanta’s LGBT youth

The holidays are over — time to clean out closets and garages to make room for all the new gifts! Though nationwide organizations accept a variety of donations for their thrift stores, local groups encourage Atlantans to donate their gently used (or re-giftable) goods within the community.

“We do work with a lot of LGBT kids and particularly lately with a lot of trans kids,” said Cindy Simpson, vice president and chief executive officer of Atlanta-based outreach group CHRIS180. “I got a call from a 16-year-old homeless youth. That homeless youth was a gay kid and he was kicked out of his home by his parents because he came out that he was gay. The question always is, where does a 16-year-old homeless youth go?”

For many, the answer is the streets, and then potentially into the foster care system if a compromise cannot be worked out between the individual and their family, Simpson said. Her organization takes to the streets to meet directly with homeless kids, and during winter months needs donations for things like winter coats, sheets and blankets, as well as hygiene items.

Lost-n-Found Youth volunteer Kimberly helps pack outreach bags for homeless LGBT individuals. (Photo courtesy Lost-n-Found Youth)

Lost-n-Found volunteers also traverse the Atlanta area with both snack packs and hygiene bags for homeless youth.

“We go down the street to connect with those kids,” Executive Director Rick Westbrook said. “We carry at least a snack pack for everybody we’re going to run into. Vienna sausages or jerky, water and a fruit cup.”

In addition to snacks and bathroom items, Westbrook says the group accepts everything except mattresses and tube TVs— even old, stained shirts are turned into cleaning rags — for its retail operation.

“We have a thrift store that we operate,” Westbrook said. “When the kids need something, we can pull out interview clothes, and when they move out, we can give them furniture.”

Parents and kids can also donate items to the newly begun Pride School Atlanta.

“If they have any favorite card games or board games that they’re done with, chess or checkers, art paper or art supplies that they’ve got extra around … it can be used,” founder Christian Zsilavetz said. “Basic sports equipment is great — balls, tennis rackets, kickballs. About all we have now is a Frisbee.”

He added that crafty Atlantans could also donate some of their handmade goods, such as jewelry, which can be used as thank-you gifts for donors.

Even if there are no in-kind donations lying around the house, these groups all accept monetary support as well — a great way to spend some of that extra Christmas cash, Zsilavetz said.

Pride School Atlanta accepts …

  • Clothing, size small to medium
  • Chest binders
  • Basic school supplies
  • Art supplies
  • Board games
  • Books of any sort
  • Sports equipment

To make donations, contact

 Lost-n-Found Youth accepts …

  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Electronics (no tube TVs)
  • Home goods (no mattresses)
  • Non-perishable snack foods
  • Male and female hygiene items

Donations can be brought to Lost-n-Found Youth at 2585 Chantilly Drive NE, Atlanta, during operating hours, as well as the Phillip Rush Center (1530 DeKalb Ave NE, Atlanta) and a donation center located at the intersection of 10th and Piedmont. For larger furniture donations, please contact to schedule a pick-up.

CHRIS180 accepts …

  • Pots and pans
  • Sheets and blankets
  • Towels
  • Hygiene items
  • Winter coats, especially those sized for individuals in their teens and 20s

Donations can be brought to CHRIS180 at 1017 Fayetteville Road, Atlanta, during operating hours.