A woman is offering free resources to those in need regardless of their situation or background. That's something that can be hard to come by, she said.
Laura Choate said she knows what it's like to sleep on the streets. Now, she's opening her arms for those in need of help.
Choate said at the age of 12, she ran away from an abusive home.
“I slept in trash cans, because back then, we had the metal trash cans, and people wouldn't look in them looking for you too much. You can eat and in the winter. It was nice and warm in there,” Choate said.
After a year of being on the streets, Choate was sent to a state-run facility for teen girls.
“That was where I was really able to come out of the closet. I knew I was different all my life, and I knew I didn't fit in and I didn't like boys,” Choate said.
Choate eventually found her safe haven at the Church of the Open Arms, 3131 N Pennsylvania Avenue.
The church’s mission is, no matter who you are or where you are in life's journey, you're welcome.
Choate is now the director of the food pantry at the church.
She thinks access to food was a huge issue for her when she was homeless. It's still an issue especially for those in the LGBTQ community.
“I believe that we serve more LGBTQ community than anybody else because they know that we're safe, we're affirming and we're open. We don't pass any judgment of any sort, and we certainly turn no one away. We know that some of our people have been turned away from other places based on the way they've been dressed,” Choate said.
Choate said she is grateful to do what she does to give back to a community that she was once part of.
The food pantry is open from 4 to 6 p.m. every Friday.