Best Charities for Holiday Giving in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

These great charities for holiday giving can help you and your family donate, give or volunteer around Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

The holiday season is all about giving. And throughout southeast Michigan, you’ll find plenty of charities for holiday giving to help you and your kids do just that.

Help make someone’s spirits a little brighter by partnering with one of these nonprofit groups in the metro Detroit and Ann Arbor regions.

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? You’ll also find local groups on our list that are worthy of your dollar contributions now and any time of year.

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 pick one whose mission you support?

Click on the name of each charity for additional details, and learn more about guidelines for giving to steer your family in the right direction.

Note: Due to COVID-19, some organizations may not be accepting new volunteers or offering in-person opportunities. Check with your chosen organization for ful details. 

Arbor Hospice

  • Address: 2366 Oak Valley Drive, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 888-992-2273
  • Hours: Volunteers not currently accepted

Arbor Hospice offers comfort and support to caregivers and patients who face life-limiting illnesses. Under normal circumstances, volunteers can offer support to caregivers or donate time helping with administrative tasks, but new volunteers are not currently being accepted due to the pandemic.

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
  • 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 — along with 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: 313-407-9805
  • 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.

Barn Sanctuary

  • Address: 20179 McKernan Road, Chelsea
  • Phone: 734-746-5009
  • Hours: Vary; call ahead

Volunteer opportunities include mucking barns and coops, raking and pasture cleaning. Many of the farm animals will come visit you while you’re working, too. Visit the website to apply. This year, in-person volunteer opportunities have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic but virtual options are available.

Big Family of Michigan

  • Address: 23500 Pare St., St. Clair Shores
  • Phone: 586-415-6968
  • 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.

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. 4217 (Conner); 313-579-2100, ext. 2218 (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 notes. Check ahead to see when you can jump in.

Cass Community Social Services

  • Address: 11745 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-883-2277 ext. 203
  • 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. Volunteer opportunities this holiday season are virtual and in-person.

Coalition on Temporary Shelter

  • Address: 2211 E. Jefferson Ave., Suite 400, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-831-3777, ext. 224
  • 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

  • Address: P.O. Box 44444, Detroit
  • Phone: 586-775-6139
  • Hours: Contact through the website to inquire about volunteering

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.

FIERCE Empowerment

  • Address: Based out of Southfield
  • Phone: 313-908-0294
  • Hours: Vary

Contribute to the growth and success of women and girls. You can work with the FIERCE team to customize your own volunteer experience. Apply to be a volunteer on the website. Opportunities range from diaper drives to being a mentor to a young girl.

Food Gatherers

  • Addresses: Warehouse: 1 Carrot Way, Ann Arbor; Community Kitchen: 312 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-761-2796
  • 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.

You can also volunteer monetarily. Every $5 you donate goes to provide 15 meals to adults, kids and seniors in your community.

Forgotten Harvest

  • Address: 21800 Greenfield Road, Oak Park
  • Phone: 248-967-1500
  • 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. Forgotten Harvest is enforcing strict safety protocols that all volunteers and staff must follow. 

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. Find out more about how you can help out this holiday season by calling.

Macomb Charitable Foundation

  • Address: 18215 24 Mile Road, Macomb Township
  • 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: 21885 Dunham Road, Suite 10, 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 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 also accepted.

Ozone House

  • Address: 1600 N. Huron River Drive, 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.

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.

The Bottomless Toy Chest

  • Address: 425 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: 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Suite 500, 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.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, closed Sunday-Monday

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 is updated regularly.


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