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Getting ready for the NEPA Youth Shelter gala

A youth shelter in Scranton wants to continue supporting kids & teens who don't have that support at home. Here's more on how you can help.

SCRANTON, Pa. — A youth shelter in Scranton wants to continue supporting kids and teens who don't have that support at home. But to do that, they need your help.

The NEPA Youth Shelter in Scranton is hosting a gala; it's the biggest fundraiser of the year. Organizers say it's "a wonderful opportunity for the community to learn about our mission."

The theme of the 2nd Annual NEPA Youth Shelter Gala is "Fall in Love with Giving." The gala will be emceed by Newswatch 16's very own Ally Gallo.

It takes place Thursday, September 29, 2022, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in Scranton. Tickets cost $85 and are available through September 10.

Click here to buy tickets for the Fall in Love with Giving Gala.

There will also be raffle prizes at the gala. Tickets can be purchased on the shelter's website or at the gala.

Attire is business casual.

Maureen Maher-Gray is a mother to one son, but she's a mother figure to dozens more.

"We're raising young adults, and it takes a village."

She's the executive director at the NEPA Youth Shelter in Scranton.

For teens who might not have a support system at home or even a home at all, Maureen is a welcoming face.

"Every day it's like, 'Hello, Miss Maureen! Where are you? We're here!' So it's good to know that they trust us, and that they love coming here."

But caring for all of these teens takes a lot of money. Think about how much it costs to feed the kids you have at home. On any given day, this shelter will feed upwards of 40 or 50 of them.

"Teenagers are hungry all the time, and so we try to feed them as much as we can. Last night, we made four giant Sam's Club bags of pierogies, and they're all gone. "

To keep the shelves full, the shelter is preparing for its biggest fundraiser of the year.

"On September 29, we have our Fall in Love with Giving gala. We hope everyone will come out. It's casual attire, you can wear whatever you want. Just bring an open checkbook and an open heart. Most of our donations are individuals and having a fundraiser like this has people fill our coffers for the next year."

But the shelter doesn't just provide the teens with a safe place, and some basic necessities. It's also a spot for them to have fun. We're told that the pool players and karaoke singers are legit!

"They're able to be here without any cares, without any worries, and just be normal kids for a while."

About NEPA Youth Shelter

The NEPA Youth Shelter helps kids all across northeastern Pennsylvania.

The information below is from its website.

"The mission of the NEPA Youth Shelter is to provide quality emergency shelter and related services to unaccompanied youth ages 14 through high school graduation from all counties in NEPA. 

The Shelter will provide essentials such as food, clothing, and bathrooms, as well as services such as educational support, counseling, family reunification, and/or preparation for independent living. 

With a focus on social justice and advocacy, the Shelter will be welcoming to youth from all backgrounds and especially affirming to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth, as this population constitutes a high percentage of homeless youth in our area."

More information and how to donate

Click here for NEPA Youth Shelter's website.

To view the nonprofit's wish list on Amazon, head to this link.

For more ways to donate, click here.

Newswatch 16 was also there when the NEPA Youth Shelter held its ribbon-cutting event back in January.  You can watch the story here.

Sponsorships are still available. Call Maureen Maher-Gray, the shelter's executive director, at (272) 800-8689 for more information.


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