The second annual 48-hour vigil by Lost-N-Found Youth begins Friday, Nov. 1, at 9 p.m. in the Burkhart's parking lot and the public is invited to come and help fill a moving truck with clothing and, yes, cash. Other items needed: undergarments, socks, razors, shaving cream and other hygienic products. Gift cards to stores such as Kroger and Target are also needed.
In late March, the stakeholders of the Phillip Rush Center, Atlanta's LGBT community center, announced a plan to expand its current space by some 1,700 square feet. In the two months since, tens of thousands of dollars have been raised, according to Georgia Equality's Jeff Graham.
“It's our second expansion and we hope that the community will continue to support us to ensure there is a safe, accessible LGBT space here in Atlanta,” Graham told GA Voice.
Georgia Equality and the Health Initiative are jointly responsible for the space where several local LGBTQ nonprofits are based.
Some 3,000 people are expected to flock to downtown East Point on June 15 for the annual East Point Possums Show, where they will drink gallons of Possum Punch, watch more than 25 drag performances and stuff dollar bills into sweaty, ahem, places to raise money to help LGBTQ homeless youth.
This year, proceeds from the fundraiser benefit Lost-n-Found Youth, which recently announced a $1 million capital campaign to fund new resources as well as a new shelter.
“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger each year,” said Rick Westbrook, matriarch of the Possums as well as executive director of Lost-n-Found. “Every dollar that comes to the stage, every sale that is made, will go directly to Lost-n-Found — and I will be reminding people of that constantly.”
Lost-n-Found Youth hopes to raise $1 million by October 2014 to meet the needs of hundreds of Atlanta homeless LGBT youth seeking permanent housing.
The capital campaign was announced May 17 at Jungle. The club’s dance floor, typically filled with shirtless men dancing to popular DJs, was instead covered with trash, makeshift shelters and a snack table with garbage can lids used to hold the food as a way to show attendees how homeless people live.
Along one wall were large pieces of cardboard explaining the needs to meet in the next year to help more LGBT homeless. Those needs include opening a thrift store that would bring in a constant source of income, a drop in center and, eventually, a new transitional living center.
The white face, the flamboyant nun apparel, the seemingly ceaseless fundraising for various charities, especially for LGBT homeless youth — all of this, plus the outrageous fun they bring to our city, leads us to celebrate the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as our People of the Year.
Founded in 2009 by Sister Gunza Blazin (many Sisters asked their real names not be used in this story) with just a few marching in the Atlanta Pride parade that year, the chapter has grown to more than a dozen dedicated men in holy drag who seek nothing more than to “promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.”
For the Sisters, that means to make people feel good while also doing good, whether its handing out condoms at bars or hosting fundraisers for its adopted cause, Lost-N-Found Youth.
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of Lost-n-Found Youth, the organization’s executive director plans to spend 48 hours on top of a box truck to raise awareness of the plight of LGBT homeless youth in Atlanta.
Rick Westbrook, executive director of Lost-n-Found Youth, plans to stay on top of the truck from the afternoon of Nov.6 until Nov. 8. He will document his experience through Facebook posts, Twitter updates and perhaps a live video stream to give a glimpse of what homeless youth experience when forced to live on the streets.
The truck will be parked next to Brushstrokes in the Ansley Square shopping center. Westbrook said he will climb aboard the truck one hour before the polls close on Election Day. He will come down for a short time to attend a town hall meeting on Nov. 7.
The entire event raised more than $20,000, but Rick Westbrook of the East Point Possums said in an email that this year the group paid for expenses up front for a total of just over $15,000.
"With this being the 15th year, we decided it was time to stand on our own. We did not ask for any monies from the beneficiaries because we know that all grassroots are struggling," Westbrook said in an email. In the past, beneficiaries were asked to front money to help pay for expenses, he explained. This year, the Possums decided to bypass that tradition.