A new project initiated by the Second Congregational UCC in Newcastle, Broad Bay UCC in Waldoboro, Skidompha Public Library in Damariscotta, and the Mid Coast Queer Collective aims to help homeless queer and transgender youth, a situation which recently has reached epidemic proportions.

Queer and transgender youth are often rejected or abused by their families and find themselves suddenly with no home or relying on friends to offer them temporary respite until long-term, sustainable solutions can be found. These kids often are in need of basic resources and supplies just to survive.

To help them, the four organizations are assembling “Safety Packs” to provide the homeless queer and transgender youth with basic supplies to help them survive in the short- to mid-term and stay in school.

The organizations are hoping the community can help provide some of the necessary supplies, most of which are available locally. The list of items for each Safety Pack, created by homeless and formerly homeless youths, includes:

Large backpack (rolling bag or duffle); a tiny lock that fits on a backpack zipper; an emergency blanket; a face cloth; a basic first aid kit (bandage strips and "butterfly" bandages in assorted sizes, over-the-counter pain relievers, alcohol wipes, elastic wrap bandages); basic toiletries (travel size toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, comb, nail clipper, hand sanitizer, 18 tampons (they have multiple uses); a roll of toilet paper); number 2 pencils and a small pencil sharpener; a box of black pens; a small notepad; and a Reny’s or similar gift card.

Donated items do not have to be exact — a close approximation of something hard to find will do just fine.

Items may be dropped off either at the Second Congregational Church’s office, 51 Main St., Newcastle, or the office of Skidompha Library Executive Director Pam Gormley at 184 Main St., Damariscotta.