Since January 2011, a collaboration of organizations have been involved in piloting Service Access for Youth (SAY), a drop-in program for unaccompanied youth 18 – 24 years old who find themselves homeless in Pittsburgh. The mission of SAY is to "provide opportunities for education, services and empowerment in a respectful, non-judgmental environment for young people experiencing homelessness."
As part of the collaboration, the Homeless Children Education Fund (HCEF) provides volunteers and interns that support this mission and works to make sure that there is something there for them to eat.
Children are considered homeless if they lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence as defined by the federal McKinney-Vento Act, a federal bill that was first enacted in 1987 to ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness could stay in school.
SAY is open on Monday 4 – 7 p.m., Tuesday 4 – 7 p.m., Wednesdays 12 – 3 p.m., and Thursdays 4 – 7 p.m.
An essential way you or your parish can help is to help provide good nutritious meals. This may be the only meal the youth will have that day. HCEF is looking for meal sponsors willing to make a monthly commitment. Choose one or more days to provide a meal. There are two plans to choose from:
- Meal Plan A
- Your congregation can choose to plan, cook, and deliver a meal for 12-15 young people.
- Meals are to be delivered to the Gay Lesbian Community Center (GLCC) at 201 Grant Street, Downtown Pittsburgh no later than 4 PM on the sponsored meal day.
- Meal Plan B
- You or your parish can choose to financially support a meal by collecting funds and sending them directly to the HCEF. They will arrange to have a meal delivered and will let the youth know who is sponsoring the food.
- Minimum suggested financial contribution – $25
Here's how you can help:
- Please pray for all of our homeless children and youth
- Choose a day to sponsor a meal from either Plan A or Plan B
- Contact Lori Stebler at 586-713-8339 or Susy Robison at HCEF at 412-576-4996
- Notify HCEF of your day(s), meal plan, and contact person name, phone number, and email (if available)
- Please keep praying and know that you are making a difference in a homeless child's life