Photo by Sarah Miller
Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation program director Coley Alston poses with a heart-shaped potato in between packing Friendsgiving Rainbow Turkey Bags
Thanksgiving is still more than a month away, but the Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation’s registration for its Friendsgiving Rainbow Turkey Bags
begins Mon., Oct. 18, for LGBTQ+ community members in the Greater Pittsburgh area.
The Rainbow Turkey Bags are described as fully customizable holiday dinners made with the help of staff and local volunteers. Registration for the boxes will close Fri., Nov. 12.
Each box will come with stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, corn, gravy, and stock. Those with dietary restrictions can select vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, kosher, or halal, and people can select turkey, ham, tofurkey, or acorn squash for their main course. The boxes also come with two sides of various vegetables, as well as a dessert option that people can choose from among apple pie, pumpkin pie, brownie mix, or cookies.
Those with additional dietary restrictions can include them, and people can choose between delivery, which will occur between Nov. 20 and 24, or pick-up, for which they will be given a pick-up window between Nov. 22 and 24.
The service began in 2020 in response to COVID-19, and through it, the Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation
claims to have provided more than 500 meals for individuals and families. It adds to other food programs offered by the North Side-based non-profit founded in 2017 to support and improve the health of the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities in Western Pennsylvania. In addition to the Rainbow Turkey Bags, the Foundation provides food for community members in need through Hugh’s Kitchen weekly grocery program, which claims it has supplied more than 4,000 bags of groceries.
"We know that for many of our community members, COVID is still significantly impacting their resources and well-being," reads an announcement from the Foundation about the program. "Our team is grateful and to be able to expand our support and assure that all LGBTQ+ individuals and families have the resources they need to thrive."
The Foundation also provides a variety of additional programs, including legal aid services, youth and family services, and training and education, as well as direct resource programs such as hygiene and safer sex kits and emergency assistance.