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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
8. Catholic Charities West Michigan | Muskegon
Catholic Charities offers services for pregnant women, a food pantry, counseling services, and more.
9. Community Action House | Holland
Michiganders of all ages donate to Community Action House, a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating poverty.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.