Jami Ortiz is an extraordinary woman. She is the mother of four children, ages 18, 15, 13 and 8, she is a Navy wife, she is an LGBT ally, and most importantly, she is the brainchild behind the Facebook group “Room At The Table” which she created to share a holiday meal with the homeless and disadvantaged who have no family to go home to during the holidays.
“If you have room in your home to offer a warm meal, a place to sleep, a shower, or anything of that sort, please feel free to join and state where you are,” Jami’s Facebook group explains. “If you have access to resources to inform homeless or the disadvantaged, please feel free to share! We want to network so nobody has to go a holiday without a friendly place to be.”
“My older son came out as transgender this year,” she tells the Gaily Grind. “Knowing what he has gone through and how hard it is even with a supportive family, it breaks my heart to think of those going through it without those who should be supporting the most.”
“He’s had crisis before, and while inpatient he met other kids who didn’t have what he has, and his concern over their well-being touched me,” she added. “I’ve known a few gay kids over the years whose families have been less than supportive and it makes me wonder what I could do to help.”
“We’ve had others in our home for the holidays, I had a friend who was going through tough times between jobs and she and her children spent one Christmas with us, and I’ve had a couple of friends who didn’t have family around who were welcome.”
“My husband is active duty military, so we’ve also had sailors who didn’t have family nearby come and share Thanksgiving with us if they couldn’t go home.”
There are already a few listings for a “Room at the Table” from Elizabeth City, N.C. to room at the table in Reading, P.A. If you care to join the group and offer a warm meal this holiday season, visit the group’s Facebook page here.
Buzzfeed asked LGBT people about going (or not going) home for the holidays, here’s what they said: