With transgender news front and center in the aftermath of Katelyn Jenner's media debut, an Olympia, Washington, organization is helping LGBT kids deal with challenges through the simple healing fellowship of a pizza party.
The Olympian reports Pizza Klatch, which has been sharing pizza and support for local lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender youths and allies for about eight years, has earned a $25,000 grant from State Farm Insurance Company. The group helps the LGBT community overcome opposition and alienation with education and awareness sessions during pizza get-togethers at local high schools. With pies purchased from local pizzerias like Brewery City Pizza or Round Table Pizza, Pizza Klatch holds meetings in nine different local high schools, serving about 60 pizzas to between 175-250 students each week. Pizza Klatch executive director Jessica McKimmie says they're dependent on grants and fundraising to continue their mission. Each meeting has two trained facilitators, and all students are welcome to come and talk. “It’s just a place where people can feel accepted and loved for exactly who they are,” McKimmie says.
Pizza Klatch was one of 4,000 organizations that applied for the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant. That number was reduced to 200 and entered into a Facebook vote with the 40 causes receiving the most votes earning the $25,000. On June 20, youth who benefit from Pizza Klatch programs accepted a giant check from State Farm on stage at the Capital City Pride festival in downtown Olympia.