Family Volunteer Opportunities in Metro Detroit

Give the gift of volunteering with help from local organizations in southeast Michigan.

The holidays are a busy time, with work deadlines to meet before vacations, gifts to source and parties to plan. But the season of giving isn’t just about presents, it’s about helping others.

Families in a position to help are in luck — many effective and diverse charities exist close to home. These local organizations need help all year long, and a volunteer stint during the holidays is a great place to start.

Showing your children how people step up when neighbors are in need is an incredible way to raise thoughtful, caring adults. Plus, it’s nice to spend time together as a family doing something for the community during a winter break.

Donate directly to someone in need through Samaritas House

This statewide organization has many programs to help those in need. Notably, they offer educational, vocational and legal services for refugees. They ask for specific donations, so have the family put together a box for someone in your community.

Foster a puppy with Paws with a Cause

  • Address: 3208 Crooks Road, Royal Oak
  • How to help: Families in southeast Michigan and Ann Arbor (and other areas, too) are able to foster

Paws with a Cause is in need of families to raise a PAWS Puppy for 14-18 months, until it’s old enough to begin formal Assistance Dog training. It’s a serious commitment, but an incredible experience.

Help with an email campaign with the ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union is a national organization with a robust Michigan chapter. Lawyers and activists team up to fight for the civil rights afforded to every person at this nonpartisan organization. Families with slightly older children can help with email campaigns and more.

Make a household DIY kit for United Way for Southeastern Michigan

United Way coordinates an enormous amount of support for families in need. This season, consider making a DIY kit for families. The organization asks for things like hand soap, menstrual hygiene products and paper towels.

Pack boxes at the Forgotten Harvest warehouse

For kids older than 12, Forgotten Harvest is a great spot to volunteer this season by packing food boxes and helping tidy the warehouse. Make sure to wear work shoes at this spot.

Participate in the Friendly Caller Program at MiGen

  • Address: 290 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale
  • How to help: Donate directly or volunteer on a committee, deliver food or participate in the Friendly Caller program to combat social isolation.

MiGen is metro Detroit’s chapter of the national organization for LGBTQ+ elders. The organization advocates for senior needs and provides services like food delivery and the Friendly Caller Program, which helps combat social isolation.

Put together a reading kit for other families

For little ones learning to read, flash cards, books and pencils make a huge difference. Get the whole family involved in picking out which books to choose and get creative.

River Roundup with the Huron River Watershed Council

Kids ages 5 and up are invited to search through stones, leaves, and sediment to find samples of bugs. Each team will have an experienced volunteer to help with the collection.

Shop for sporting equipment for Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan

The Boys and Girls club offers mental wellness resources, general mentorship, distance learning support, educational summer camps and more. The next time the family is out shopping for gifts, pick up an extra set of cleats or balls and donate them together.


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Amanda Rahn
Amanda Rahn
Amanda Rahn is a freelance journalist, copy editor and proud Detroiter. She is a graduate of Wayne State University’s journalism school and of the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University. Amanda is a lover of translated contemporary fiction, wines from Jura and her dog, Lottie.

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