Local nonprofit asking for volunteers, love from community during National Homeless Youth Awareness Month

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month.

According to national nonprofit StandUp for Kids, 1.7 million children experience homelessness each year.

At the local level, StandUp for Kids Hampton Roads, organizers say the pandemic has impacted how they’re able to operate. But in spite of that, they are determined to reduce youth homelessness in our area.

This holiday season, they are hoping the community will step up to make sure the youth they work with know they are loved.

We’re entering the most wonderful time of the year, but if you’re on the street, the holidays might be anything but wonderful.

“Although we do have sleeping bags and hats and gloves and sweaters and things like that, sometimes there’s just not enough to be outside and keep that chill out of your bones,” said Nicole Pixler, co-executive director of StandUp for Kids Hampton Roads.

The nonprofit has been helping kids and teens in our area since 1991. Last year alone, they helped more than 1,500 youth.

“The scope of youth homelessness in Hampton Roads is huge,” said Pixler.

The coronavirus pandemic changed their operations. They had to deliver food instead of opening a drop-in center and had to cancel events.

Their facilities are now back open and they need volunteers to help.

“Our drop-in center, we’re back out on the street doing outreach, so if the cold doesn’t bother you and you want to come out and walk the Oceanfront, that would be great, as well,” Pixler said.

If you can’t volunteer, Pixler is hoping you can help in another way. Their “angel tree” will go up the day after Thanksgiving, with information on gifts for kids. It will be at Zero’s Subs at the Oceanfront.

Their goal is to give every kid and teen the chance for this holiday season to be better than the last.

“I want other people to think about the kids that are kind of forgotten about,” said Pixler. “They’re not forgotten about by us, but it’s a great opportunity for an entire family to give back, if they want to provide a meal, if they want to provide a gift, if they want to provide stockings, things like that, just to let these kids know that they are just as important as everyone else.”

Pixler says they are in particular need of sweatpants and hooded sweatshirts.

If you’d like to get involved or donate, you can visit their website or email their co-executive director, Nicole Pixler, at nicolep@standupforkids.org.

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