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Long Beach LGBTQ Center to offer free Christmas meals

Christmas Long Beach LGBTQ Center

Carlos Torres, executive director of the Long Beach LGBTQ Center: “No one needs to be alone. “We are there if you or a loved one needs help.” Photo: Q Voice News

LGBTQ people are more likely than heterosexual people to experience stress, anxiety, and depression during the Christmas and holiday season, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness.

To help with those issues, the LGBTQ Center Long Beach will offer the community fellowship and good cheer.

On Friday, from noon to 4 p.m., the Center will hold a festive and free Christmas meal giveaway in front of its building, while supplies last.

“We want to make sure that everyone in the LGBTQ community feels a connection with others during the holidays. Chosen family, or not, we all deserve to be part of something special,” Ismael Salamanca, director of Health Services at the LGBTQ Center Long Beach, said in a statement.

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Volunteer elves will celebrate with Christmas songs and karaoke while people can pick up their meal, donated from Long Beach’s Breakfast Bar. Visitors are also welcome to hang out for caroling.

The Center will also include a special gift with each meal package.

If anyone needs to speak with a culturally competent mental health professional, the Center has a staff of trained therapists who work on a sliding scale throughout the year.

Anyone interested can call 562-434-4455 ext. 228 for an intake consultation or visit the Center website.

“No one needs to be alone,” Carlos Torres, executive director of The Center, said in the statement. “We are there if you or a loved one needs help.”

The LGBTQ Center Long Beach supports more than 25,000 people a year through programs:

  • Youth and family services
  • Senior services
  • Mental health counseling
  • Legal services
  • Domestic violence support
  • Trans health programs
  • HIV and STI testing
  • More than 20 weekly support groups.

Many of these services are offered online during the pandemic.

HIV/STI testing is available by appointment Monday through Friday at The Center.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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