Best Charitable Organizations for Holiday Giving in Southeast Michigan

Great organizations that help you and your family donate, give or volunteer to the less fortunate in 2016 in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

The holiday season is all about giving. Help make someone’s spirits a little brighter by partnering with one of the charities in Michigan’s southeast region this year. Bonus: You and your family get to spend some quality time together – all while helping worthy local groups. Or, if time is at a premium, why not make a donation to a great cause? What are some of the best charity organizations to donate to? 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.


Having trouble deciding which charities to donate to, or wondering how to chose one that is legitimate? You can look at nonprofit organizations and charities a bit closer. Here are suggestions on what questions to ask these groups.

Arbor Hospice

  • Address: 2366 Oak Valley Drive, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-662-5999
  • 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. Volunteers must complete a training program; minimum age is 16.

Area Agency on Aging, Meals on Wheels

Detroit (Wayne County)

  • Address: 1333 Brewery Park Blvd., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-446-4444
  • Hours: Vary

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.

Art Road

  • Address: based in Livonia
  • Phone: 734-536-6256 (speak with Steven Hofgartner) or email
  • Hours: Volunteers needed during class hours; usually in class 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays and Fridays (call for location information)

Art Road offers art classes with supplies and teachers for schools that do not have a program. Families can volunteer in class or at events – or donate money to this organization. All ages are welcome.

Big Family of Michigan

  • Address: 41757 Irwin Road, Harrison Township
  • Phone: 586-415-6968
  • Regular hours: hours vary; 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 in various opportunities including organizing a drive and giftwrapping during the holidays. Visit their website and complete a form about your interest in volunteering.

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. 210 (Conner); 313-579-2100, ext. 213 (Meldrum)
  • Hours: Call ahead for details

Volunteerism is at the heart of this long-time local program, from serving meals and sorting clothes to working in the Earthworks Garden and tutoring children and teens. 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: 11745 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-883-2277 (talk to Sue Pethoud)
  • Hours: Open 24/7; volunteers work various shifts, even just an hour.

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 children (over age of 10 preferred) can volunteer in many ways. Make monetary donations online, over the phone or by mail.

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. COTS has various ways to give back and donate. Contact them to find out about opportunities.

Detroit Goodfellows

There are many ways to help this organization give kids and families a joyous holiday. Each year, the Old Newsboys’ Goodfellow Fund of Detroit puts together Christmas gift packages. Participate in the Doll Program (issuing dolls to girls 5-9 years old) and Package Distribution Program. Kids can also join the Junior Goodfellows Program. Donations are welcome, too.

Food Gatherers

  • Addresses: Warehouse: 1 Carrot Way, Ann Arbor; Community Kitchen: 312 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-761-2796 (or email
  • Hours: Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; volunteer hours vary

Food Gatherers provides food to 150 local community 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.

Forgotten Harvest

  • Address: 21800 Greenfield Road, Oak Park
  • Phone: 248-967-1500 (or email volunteer coordinator Nicole Peeples at
  • Hours: Contact for details

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

Donate food, money or time to this local food bank. Make one-time or monthly donations online. “Every dollar you donate provides three meals to a hungry neighbor,” the organization’s website notes. Donations are currently being matched to provide six meals for every dollar donated. Find out more about how you can help out this holiday season by calling.

Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit

  • Addresses: Multiple addresses throughout Detroit and surrounding areas
  • Phone: 313-557-8791
  • Hours: Vary by location

Goodwill makes it a priority to put people to work who are having difficulty finding employment. Volunteers sort clothing, stock shelves and move furniture in the stores, work at special events or complete other duties.

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 late fall); call or visit the 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 the Holiday Gift Giving Party on Nov. 13, 2016 from noon until 2 p.m. Unable to come? Visit the website to make a monetary donation.

Macomb Charitable Foundation

  • Address: 18215 24 Mile Road, Macomb
  • Phone: 586-232-3473
  • 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 and summer camp for homeless children.

Macomb Food Program

  • Address: Warehouse: 44900 Vic Wertez Drive, Clinton Township
  • Phone: 586-469-6004, Ext. 1
  • 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 seasonally; call for details. Children under 16 should be accompanied by an adult; kids must be older than 10 to volunteer. Donations of nonperishable food items accepted (call ahead). Monetary donations can be mailed to 21885 Dunham Road, Suite 10, Clinton Township, MI 48036.

Ozone House

  • Address: 1705 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor (youth shelter); 102 N. Hamilton St., Ypsilanti (drop-in center)
  • Phone: 734-662-2265
  • Hours: Contact for details on how to get involved

This community-based nonprofit agency helps young people have safe, healthy and productive lives through intervention and prevention services. Volunteers can help with projects, host fundraisers or a homeless simulation, work at special events or assist with other duties. Fill out a volunteer application online to get involved.

Ronald McDonald House of Southeast Michigan

  • Address: 4707 St. Antoine St., Suite 200, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-745-5909
  • Hours: 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, selling merchandise or working in the office, 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 Division 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. Sign up to volunteer your time as a kettle ringer.

Southfield Goodfellows

  • Address: P.O. Box 2336, Southfield
  • Phone: 248-788-5899
  • Hours: Vary on available time slots (check online and sign up now)

Southfield Goodfellows is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization providing food and toys to families in need for more than 50 years. Families come and sort foods and gifts before packing them. Parents must accompany young children for food sorting. Teens recommended for gift sorting. Call for 2016 volunteer opportunity dates.

The Bottomless Toy Chest

  • Address: Office: 735 Forest Ave., Suite 204, Birmingham; warehouse: 435 Elmwood Ave., Troy
  • Phone: 248-646-8931
  • Hours: Call for details

Ring in the holidays by sending a gift to a sick child. Help them celebrate by hosting a toy drive or a wrap party. Monetary donations go to P.O. Box 623, Bloomfield Hills. Call for more information.

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 make a difference in Southeastern Michigan. 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 or email
  • 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.

Wigs for Kids

  • Address: 30126 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores
  • Phone: 586-772-6656 or email
  • 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. Make donations to the organization as it is trying to open another permanent facility and continue serving children. Call for more information.

This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for 2016 by Jessica Schrader.


  • Really i don’t see nothing for detroit. No one wants to help detroit in it’s sad to say because i’m really in need of help for these up comeing holidays thank you

  • I really don’t see nothing in for Detroit area no one don’t wants to help detroit it’s sad to say

    • Stacey W.

      Many of these organizations are located in Detroit and serve the area.

  • Bridging Communities is a great organization that should be added to this list. Based in Detroit, they are very “hands-on” in the neighborhoods they serve and are very deserving of more attention and more support!

    • Stacey W.

      We’re getting ready to update this list soon, so we’ll reach out to Ozone House. Thanks!

  • I’m a granny in need of help I listen to how you guys help out so many family but when somebody serious try to reach out to you guys for help y’all never respond I got custody of my four grandkids which I love with all my heart but I need alittle help with taking care of them I living off a single income which is not enough but it’s hard when I got custody they had much of nothing and as of today they need slot of everything school clothing and daily clothing everyday school supplies coats shoes pjs Etc I had a car which was to small and now not work due to I cannot afford to fix it due to not enough money if so you no anybody who can help us please call me at 248-410-9900 thank you sheila


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