Giving back to charity is a hallmark of the holidays. Photo via Shutterstock
Giving back to charity is a hallmark of the holidays.

Michiganders are spreading kindness through random acts, donations, and gifts. Here’s how you can help.

DETROIT, Mich.—This time of year generally sees an uptick in philanthropic donations. Local charities, nonprofit organizations, and shelters receive the lionshare of contributions in the month between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, thanks, in part, to the annual Giving Tuesday campaign that began in 2012, according to Neon One, a philanthropic tracker.

Detroit native and resident Crystal Baskin finds ways to give back to her community throughout the year, crediting her faith for her generosity. “It’s all God and his vision,” Baskin told The ‘Gander.

This winter, Baskin has taken to her Random Acts of Kindness – Spread Love Facebook group to help bring awareness to everyone’s need to feel love and warmth at this time of year.

The concept of random acts of kindness is not new. It typically involves picking a stranger to help for no reason at all, often without their knowledge. Some people choose to pay for the meal of the car behind them in the drive-line, while others will pick up a tab at the grocery store.

So far, Baskin has purchased coats and boots for both the Detroit Public Schools Community District and local unhoused communities with donations collected through her Facebook group.

“If we step back and evaluate, we all already have so much we can give,” she said. 

Baskin and the Facebook group, which already has more than 250 members, are accepting monetary donations through a GoFundMe page

Michigan groups and charities are able to reach large groups of people thanks to the kindness of those contributing to their causes. 

As you decide how you’ll bring more holiday cheer to friends, neighbors, and strangers, we’ve compiled a list of 15 local charities seeking support this year.

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Upper Peninsula

1. Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice | Marquette

Michigan’s oldest elder care and hospice is located in the UP. The nonprofit offers care to patients near the end of their lives—and they’re funded by grants and donations.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers are no longer permitted in the facility, but click here for donation information.

2. United Way of Eastern UP | Salt Ste. Marie

United Way of Eastern UP offers youth mentorship programs, reading buddies, school supplies, and food items for UP families. 

Click here for donation information.

3. U.P. Kids (Big Brothers Big Sisters) | Houghton

U.P. Kids is the Upper Peninsula’s dedicated community for improving the lives of children. The organization manages the area’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program, foster care and adoption services, and family reunification.

Click here for donation information.

Northern Michigan

4. Impact100 TC | Traverse City

Impact100 TC awards educational, environmental, health, and arts grants to residents who want to positively impact the northern Michigan community. The group aims to award at least $100,000 each year.

Click here for information on getting involved.

5. Women’s Shelter of Northern Michigan | Petoskey

In-person volunteer opportunities are currently suspended at the shelter as efforts increase to slow the rate of coronavirus transmission. Even with added precautions, the group is still helping to provide safe shelter, education, and employment opportunities for northern Michigan women.

Click here for donation information.

6. New Hope Center | Cadillac

The New Hope Center has been serving greater Cadillac for nearly 30 years. The nonprofit provides family housing that does not separate families by gender as traditional shelters do. The Center accepts monetary, food, and clothing donations.

Click here for donation details.

Good morning everyone! Today is #givingtuesday2020 and if you are still looking to donate to an organization, please…

Posted by New Hope Center on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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Western Michigan

7. Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan | Grand Rapids

Ronald McDonald House has been providing a safe place for families to stay for more than 30 years. The staff and volunteers rely heavily on donations. You can donate wish list items directly to the charity.

'Tis the season for holiday shopping! There are two easy ways you can spread a little holiday cheer and support your…

Posted by Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan on Thursday, December 10, 2020

Click here for donation information.

8. Catholic Charities West Michigan | Muskegon 

Catholic Charities offers services for pregnant women, a food pantry, counseling services, and more. 

Click here for donation information, where you can specify how you’d like it to be used.

9. Community Action House | Holland

Michiganders of all ages donate to Community Action House, a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating poverty.

Click here for donation details.


10. Humane Animal Treatment Society | Mt. Pleasant

Donations are always welcomed to help Michigan’s furry—and often forgotten—residents. The shelter is hoping to have all animals adopted by Dec. 12.

Click here for donation details.

We were able to squeeze in a few more kittens into surgery today so they will still be available for the Bissell…

Posted by Humane Animal Treatment Society on Thursday, December 10, 2020

11. Child and Family Charities | Lansing

The Lansing-based nonprofit focuses on healing trauma in children, while addressing the needs of the entire family. They help with juvenile justice initiatives, child abuse prevention, and offer behavioral health services.

Click here for donation details.

12. Greater Lansing Food Bank | Lansing

While many Michigan families prepare meals that they will never be able to finish, other kitchen tables are bare. The Greater Lansing Food Bank aims to eliminate hunger throughout the area, and accepts both food and monetary donations.

Click here for more information.

Southeastern Michigan

13. The Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan | Pontiac

Money, food, and shelter are all necessary to live comfortably in Michigan. Many of us forget what a privilege it can be to live in a furnished home, but the Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan works to provide that privilege to us all.

Click here for information on making furniture and monetary donations.

Through the end of November, the Furniture Bank has provided 2,010 local families with 13,667 items of furniture valued at almost $700,000. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far this year!

Posted by The Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan on Tuesday, December 8, 2020

14. Art Road | Livonia

Through donations of supplies and funds, Art Road provides art instruction for schools and students who would not otherwise have access to the classes.

Click here for donation information.

15. Barn Sanctuary | Chelsea

As The ‘Gander previously reported, Barn Sanctuary is an animal rescue service for barnyard animals. After all, an injured or neglected hog, sheep, or cow wouldn’t be welcomed in most Michigan neighborhoods.

Click here for donation details.

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