Project Fierce Chicago ( PFC ) packed downtown Irish pub Celtic Crossings, 751 N. Clark St., for its first in-person fundraiser, "Breakfast 'N' Beds," on Nov. 9.
PFC is a grassroots initiative made up of social workers, housing advocates and young people, and its mission is to "reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness by providing transitional housing and support services" outside of the institutional system, according to its website.
A roaring fireplace and a guitarist performing folk music set the lively and comfortable scene, which was rounded out by plenty of mimosas and Bloody Marys. Chef Fresh of Fresh 82 served comfort food such as pumpkin oatmeal, French toast, biscuits, deviled eggs and parfait in addition to many vegan-friendly options.
Guests were treated to spoken word from the ensemble piece "FACES" by the Youth Empowerment Performance Project; during the piece, storytellers crafted poetry around words thrown out from the crowd. In addition to a raffle, those in attendance also had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items such as acupuncture sessions, a song producing and recording session at a studio, Gene Siskel Film Center memberships, tickets to Goodman, jewelry and a personal styling session from Akira.
The goal of Breakfast "N" Beds was to have involvement and entry accessible at different levels, from local artists donating their work for the auction and raffle, to guests participating in the brunch. PFC has been raising funds for the last year and a half almost exclusively from the community without government funding, with donations for the event going towards rehabbing and funding a new home on the west or south side for young LGBTQ people in Chicago.
"The only reason we've gotten this far is because we have this really rich pool of LGBTQ folks and allies that work together," said PFC leadership team member and founder Cassandra Avenatti. "I would love for folks to find out about us, connect with us, come to an event, go online and get involved. We always welcome volunteers; it's really a community effort.
To learn more, visit www.projectfiercechicago.org .