‘Tis the season to take some time and help make someone else’s day better. Get involved, in a big or small way, by donating food, supplies, toys, money or time to one (or more) of the local and national charities here in West Michigan. Here’s just a short list of the many places where you can lend a hand this holiday season — or any time of the year.
Toys for Tots
Various locations, grand-rapids-mi.toysfortots.org, (616) 570-1207
What to Give: Money, toys
Make a child’s Christmas a little bit brighter with new, unwrapped toys. Founded by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1947, Toys for Tots’ mission has been to deliver a message of hope to less fortunate children through a kindly donated gift during the holiday season. Hop online to find the nearest donation bins near you.
Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank
864 West River Center Dr., Comstock Park, feedwm.org, (616) 784-3250
What to Give: Food, money, time
Food insecurity — having unreliable access to healthy food — affects one in eight people in West Michigan. Feeding America ensures that safe food is accessible to those in need and provides great meals to an estimated 492,100 people every year. Every dollar (that’s right, $1) donated to the organization provides four meals to the hungry, and a donation of only $21 will feed a family of four for up to a week.
God’s Kitchen Food and Pantry Programs
303 Division Ave., Grand Rapids, (616) 454-4110
1095 Third St., Muskegon, (231) 726-5341
What to Give: Time, clothes
A hot meal is served daily at God’s Kitchen. More than 175,000 meals were provided last year to hungry visitors throughout West Michigan. Although volunteer spots are filling up quickly during the holiday season, Catholic Charities West Michigan encourages volunteers to help throughout the year.
You also can donate to the baby and toddler pantries at the Grand Rapids and Muskegon locations, which offer a selection of new and gently used items for infants and children up to five years old.
Volunteers of America: Adopt A Family
adoptafamilymichigan.org, (248) 353-4862
What to Give: Money, gifts
Adopt A Family gives you the opportunity to make the holidays better for someone else by sponsoring a family, senior or veteran. Sponsors provide gifts of new toys, clothes and a holiday meal. Adopt A Family welcomes simple cash donations as well. Those donations benefit families, seniors and veterans who were not directly “adopted.”
Family Promise of Grand Rapids
516 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids, familypromisegr.org, (616) 475-5220
What to Give: Money, time, supplies
Family Promise of Grand Rapids is doing everything it can to end family homelessness by working with families who are either homeless or at risk. The organization guides families through the process of finding new housing or support to stay in their current housing. In addition to monetary donations and volunteers, check out Family Promise’s online Wish List for an idea of items that are always needed.
Community Action House
345 W. 14th St., Holland, communityactionhouse.org, (616) 392-2368
What to Give: Food, money, time
Community Action House seeks “(to) provide area families and individuals with food, clothing, shelter and the opportunity to build necessary skills to achieve a stable and prosperous life.” This organization offers a full range of assistance to struggling families, including: food and personal care items, education and foreclosure prevention. Community Action House has a variety of ways to get involved, from volunteering opportunities to employer matching gift programs.
Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth
235 Straight Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, bgcgrandrapids.org, (616) 451-4297
What to Give: Money, time
The Boys and Girls Club gives young people the opportunity to reach their full potential as responsible citizens through education and enriching community experiences. The clubs offer numerous and diverse activities to meet the interests of all young people. As the cold weather approaches, the club is looking for donations of gloves, scarves, hats/earmuffs and socks. Volunteer your time and join in on the Club experience by committing two or more hours at the same time each week, or go online and click “Donate Now.”
Access of West Michigan’s Holiday Giving Network
1700 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, accessofwestmichigan.org, (616) 774-2175
What to Give: Money, food, time
Help Kent County families who are in need of holiday food through Access of West Michigan’s Holiday Giving Network. You can provide holiday dinner food items to your matched family, give grocery store gift cards/money, or hold your own food drive