Best Holiday Charitable Giving in Southeast Michigan

Great organizations that help you and your family donate, give or volunteer to the less fortunate in 2014 in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

Best Holiday Charitable Giving in Southeast Michigan

The holiday season is all about giving. Help make someone’s spirits a little brighter by partnering with a charitable organization this holiday season. Bonus: You and your family get to spend some quality time together – all while helping worthy local groups. Or, if time’s at a premium, why not make a donation to a great cause? Metro Parent gathered details from some great nonprofit charities in southeast Michigan. Browse this list to see where your family can volunteer – or give to – this holiday season.

Arbor Hospice

  • Addresses: 2366 Oak Valley Drive, Ann Arbor; 40500 Ann Arbor Road, Suite 102, Plymouth
  • Phone: 734-662-5999 (Ann Arbor line)
  • Hours: Volunteers are needed 24/7

Arbor Hospice offers comfort and support to caregivers and patients who face life-limiting illnesses. Volunteers can offer support to caregivers and patients – or donate time helping with administrative tasks. Interested in financially supporting the organization? That option is available, too.

Area Agency on Aging, Meals on Wheels

Detroit (Wayne County)

  • Address: 1333 Brewery Park Blvd., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-446-4444, ext. 5605
  • Hours: Vary; holiday Meals on Wheels usually morning shifts

Oakland, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties

  • Address: 29100 Northwestern Highway, Suite 400, Southfield (serving Oakland, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties)
  • Phone: 800-852-7795
  • Hours: Vary

The Area Agency on Aging provides a Holiday Meals on Wheels program, and Meals on Wheels throughout the year. You can also donate to both organizations. For more details on each program and what is needed, visit their websites.

Big Family of Michigan

  • Address: 17560 Helro, Fraser
  • Phone: 586-415-6968 (or email Jeanne Fowler
  • Holiday hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday
  • Regular hours: hours vary; please call ahead

Big Family of Michigan strives to serve the needs of Michigan’s foster children and young adults. You and your family can help out this holiday season by shopping and wrapping gifts. Or, you can host a drive for winter gear and toys.

Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Meal Programs

  • Addresses: Conner kitchen (serves working families and seniors), 4390 Conner St., Detroit; Meldrum kitchen (serves chronically poor), 1264 Meldrum St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-822-8606, ext. 217 (Conner); 313-579-2100, ext. 215 (Meldrum)
  • Hours: Call ahead for details

Volunteerism is at the heart of this long-time local program, from preparing food in the kitchen and serving meals to guests to building pantry boxes and packing meat (in warm weather, there’s also a chance to pitch in at its Earthworks Urban Farm). Young and old are welcome to help: It’s rewarding hard work, the website says. Check ahead to see when you can jump in.

Cass Community Social Services

  • Address: 11850 Woodrow Wilson St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-883-2277, ext. 203 (talk to Sue Pethoud)
  • Hours: Open 24/7; volunteers work 9 a.m.-noon or 1-4 p.m. any day of the week except Sunday mornings

This Detroit-based charity works throughout the metro Detroit area to provide food, health, housing and jobs in places overcome with poverty. You and your kids (over age of 12 preferred) can volunteer to work in the kitchen, help with maintenance or assist with Cass Green Industries.

Coalition on Temporary Shelter

  • Address: 26 Peterboro St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-831-3777
  • Hours: Call for details

Based in Detroit, COTS provides emergency shelter for the homeless and families in need, complete with beds and food. COTS also offers transitional housing and permanent supportive housing. Volunteer or donate to the holiday meal program (must be 14 or older). Toys and gifts for needy families welcome. COTS is also accepting various items for families, including school supplies, baby bottles, diapers, children’s uniforms, sheets and towels, canned foods and more. Contact them to find out about opportunities to give.

Covenant House Michigan

  • Address: 2959 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-463-2014 (talk to Danielle)
  • Hours: Vary

Teens and young adults who have been abused, neglected and have no place to turn are welcome at Covenant House Michigan, a faith-based nonprofit. Volunteers are needed to help with holiday gift-wrapping. Covenant House Michigan is also accepting donations of items on their wish list (by Dec. 12, 2014) including purses, perfume, cologne and makeup sets, socks, wallets, watches, ties with cuff links, hoodies, underwear and more. On the weekends, volunteers can sort holiday donations. Volunteers younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The organization is also looking for mentors for its residents (ages 25+).

Detroit Goodfellows

There are many ways to help this 100-year-old organization give kids and families a joyous holiday. Each year, the Old Newsboys’ Goodfellow Fund of Detroit puts together Christmas gift packages. You can help deliver packages Dec. 6-18, 2014 (check website Dec. 1 for details on distribution locations). Kids can also join the Junior Goodfellows Program. Donations are welcome, too. In the spring, volunteers can also dress dolls for girls ages 4-9 to receive as a gift.

Food Gatherers

  • Addresses: Warehouse: 1 Carrot Way, Ann Arbor; Community Kitchen: 313 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-761-2796 (or email Food Gatherers)
  • Hours: Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; volunteer hours vary

Food Gatherers provides food to 150 nonprofit agencies and programs directly serving adults and kids in Washtenaw County. That assistance takes the form of hot meals, nutritious snacks and emergency groceries. Volunteers help sort and package the food at the warehouse, plus prepare and serve meals in the Community Kitchen.

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Forgotten Harvest

  • Address: 21800 Greenfield Road, Oak Park
  • Phone: 248-967-1500
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Forgotten Harvest aims to relieve hunger in metro Detroit by gathering extra food from grocery stores, bakeries and more – to distribute to emergency food providers. Volunteers are able to help pack food. (Note: Volunteers must be at least 12 years of age, and volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.)

Gleaners Community Food Bank

  • Address: 2131 Beaufait St., Detroit
  • Phone: 866-GLEANER (453-2637)
  • Hours: Vary

Gleaners is completely booked for volunteers this holiday season. But you can still volunteer through the year. Gleaners even has Kids Helping Kids, a program where children can help other kids on their own. Individual volunteers, families and more are welcome, but for certain tasks, kids need to be 16 or older. To donate nonperishable food items, visit the Gleaners website.

Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit

  • Addresses: 41937 Ford Road, Canton; 3281 Crumb Road, Commerce Township; 22451 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 20080 West Road, Woodhaven
  • Phone: 313-557-8791
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday

Goodwill makes it a priority to put people to work who are having difficulty finding employment. Volunteers sort clothing in the stores in Dearborn, Canton and Commerce Township. Note that volunteers must be ages 14 and older.

Humble Design

  • Address: 180 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac
  • Phone: 248-243-7144
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday to drop off donations

Humble Design aims to turn a house into a home for families just getting on their feet by providing gently used household goods. Your donated furniture helps furnish the homes of those in need. Volunteers also are needed to transport decorative items to the homes of those in need and place them in the home on Deco Day – and organize linens or kitchen items in the warehouse. Prefers youth in high school or older for events or volunteering in the warehouse; must be 18 or older to participate in delivering furniture and decorating.

Leah’s Happy Hearts

  • Address: based in Livonia
  • Phone: 734-522-1269 (talk to Kristen Collins)
  • Hours: Hosts two events per year to fund its mission (in early summer and December); call or visit website to see how you can contribute

Leah’s Happy Hearts was created in memory of Leah Elisabeth James, whose life was cut short due to an inoperable brain tumor. Help this group raise funds for research for pediatric brain cancer – and provide support for the kids – at its two large annual fundraisers. The Santa’s Workshop happens in December (it allows pediatric patients at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital to pick out gifts for Christmas). For the holidays, help by giving “gift” donations of $5-$10 or fund amounts of your choice. Look for the family fun walk fundraiser in late spring/early summer.

Macomb Charitable Foundation

  • Address: 18215 24 Mile Road, Macomb Township
  • Phone: 586-232-3473 (talk to Shelly Penzien)
  • Hours: Vary based on events

This nonprofit seeks to help kids living at or below the poverty level in Macomb County. It provides financial assistance for items such as food, clothing, rent/utility assistance, educational aid and more. Volunteer opportunities include fundraisers, a book bag drive and summer camp for homeless children. The organization needs brand-new toys for kids of any age and gift cards for food and clothing to distribute to those in need.

Macomb Food Program

  • Address: Warehouse: 44900 Vic Wertez Drive, Clinton Township
  • Phone: 586-469-6004
  • Hours: Vary based on need

Providing food to the hungry in Macomb County since 1975. The organization works with county food pantries. Volunteers are needed in the warehouse to sort and box food. More volunteers are needed during summer months. Children under 16 should be accompanied by an adult; kids must be older than 10 to volunteer. Accepts donations of nonperishable food items, which can be dropped off at the warehouse (call ahead). Monetary donations can be mailed 21885 Dunham Road, Suite 10, Clinton Township, MI 48036

Ronald McDonald House of Southeast Michigan

  • Address: 3911 Beaubien St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-745-5909
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily; check ahead to see how you can get involved

This organization provides a “home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children” focused on supplying health and support services to those in under-served communities. You can volunteer by raising funds, cooking or selling merchandise, among other options. Or pitch in with monetary donations, as well as gifts of non-perishable food.

Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division

  • Address: Eastern Michigan Divisional Headquarters, 16130 Northland Drive, Southfield
  • Phone: 248-443-5500
  • Hours: Vary by volunteering opportunity; check ahead for details

The Salvation Army is a nonprofit supplying social services and programs to people in need. There are plenty of family volunteer options and ways to donate. The 2014 Red Kettle Campaign runs through Dec. 24. Give at a kettle event or outpost – or sign up to volunteer your time as a kettle ringer.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan

  • Addresses: Main: 660 Woodward Ave., Suite 300, Detroit; Oakland County: Bank of America Headquarters, 2600 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 160, Troy
  • Phone: 313-226-9200 (main Detroit office)
  • Hours: vary based on volunteer opportunity

United Way aims to partner with you to help make metro Detroit a “Top 5″ place to live. Its method? Ensuring kids graduate ready for college and a career, and providing individuals and families with access to food and shelter and to help them eventually become financially stable. You can help by choosing one of the many volunteer opportunities offered at United Way.

Variety the Children’s Charity

  • Address: 600 S. Adams St., Suite 230, Birmingham
  • Phone: 248-258-5511
  • Hours: Vary by type of volunteering; call ahead to see what’s available

This children’s charity is focused on helping kids, no matter what the need is. Variety allows you to volunteer in a way that interests you. Note that volunteers must be ages 18 and older.

Wigs for Kids

  • Address: 30126 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores
  • Phone: 586-772-6656
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday

Wigs 4 Kids is a nonprofit focused on kids and teens/young adults with hair loss, helping them deal with social acceptance based on their appearance by providing them with an age-appropriate wig at no cost their family. Wigs 4 Kids has many opportunities for you to volunteer based on your interests, from easy money donations to an “Adopt-A-Kid” option and volunteering time.

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