Here are short introductions to the groups asking for support this year:
Odyssey Youth Center - a local center for LGBTQA youth, the only one of its kind in the Spokane and north Idaho-area. They do social activities, programs and provide a safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning youth and their allies. They are losing grant funding and searching for monies to cover a growing need - they are only open three days a week.
Martin Luther King Center - the center is specifically seeking funding for its summer program for 3.5 to 12 year olds. It's called the Summer Youth Academy and it provides art projects, field trips and music and community projects. Tuition is $470 per kid per month. The center would like to plan and organize the children games and activities at the Summer Fair and Parade (on July 16). Between 50 and 60 kids were in the summer program last year.
Team Grant - this is the parent group at Grant Elementary School. They support a sports program and the drummers and dancers. The sports include basketball and volley ball as well as cross country in spring and fall. More than 60 percent of kids at Grant qualify for free or reduced lunch, so the need for support is huge. Team Grant also has an emergency fund that may give out a gift card to a grocery store.
Interfaith Hospitality - a homeless center for children and their families. They are part of Family Promise, and have been open here since 1997. More than 400 families have been helped and the organization's prime directory is to work with children. Asides from emergency housing they also provide a day center. At night, the homeless families are housed at local churches. They are in survival mode they say - with a very small staff and they've lost a lot of funding. About 75 percent of funding comes from partner churches. The need is not going down.