'Tis the season ... of giving.
Amid the twinkling lights, festive tunes, and glittering gifts accumulating under the tree, consider spreading good tidings and Christmas cheer to those in need in metro Detroit.
The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as Giving Tuesday, when folks are encouraged to open their hearts and wallets to support local charities and nonprofits. Want to help but don't have cash to spare? Consider volunteering.
Here's 10 local charities and ways to donate your time or money to this holiday:
St. Vincent de Paul Detroit
St. Vincent de Paul is an international organization that seeks to help those in poverty by fighting hunger, preventing homelessness and changing lives — "neighbors helping neighbors." Here's how to help:
Donate money online or by check.
Donate useful goods like clothing, furniture and other household items. Drop donations off at a donation center, a drop box or one of St. Vincent de Paul's stores or schedule a pickup (requires a minimum donation of 20 bags/boxes of clothing or small household items).
Shop at St. Vincent de Paul's stores, where some donated goods are resold for a fraction of the price and all profits go back into the charity. There are five stores to choose from in southeast Michigan: Detroit, Madison Heights, Waterford, Utica, and Marysville.
Volunteer in one of St. Vincent de Paul's stores.
Crossroads of Michigan
Crossroads of Michigan focuses on helping those in poverty by providing them food, diapers, clothes, and other necessities, as well as resources like transportation and coaching for permanent employment, crisis reduction and long-term stability. Here's how to help:
Donate money online.
Donate goods. This month, Crossroads of Michigan is specifically asking for soap, shampoo, men's and women's deodorant, razors and shaving cream. You can see their full Amazon wish list here.
Volunteer in their weekly Sunday soup kitchen from 8 a.m. -2 p.m., or volunteer for a more long-term position in one-on-one navigation, resource room stocking, or food distribution.
Capuchin Soup Kitchen
Capuchin Soup Kitchen seeks to relieve the needs of its guests and the metro Detroit community by providing food, clothing, other resources, and human development programs. It offers meal programs to those in need at two locations, one on Meldrum Street and one on Conner Street; the meal programs differ depending on the location, but both serve at least two meals a day Monday through Friday. It also operates the Earthworks Urban Farm, whose harvest is mostly used in the soup kitchen, and the On The Rise Bakery and Cafe, which employs bakers that have recently been released from prison or completed a substance use disorder treatment program. Here's how to help:
Donate money online, by mail or by phone.
Donate goods, like food, clothing, appliances or furniture in good condition. Currently, Capuchin Soup Kitchen has a greater demand for men's, children's and plus-size clothing.
Volunteer at the soup kitchen, Capuchin Services Center, Earthworks Urban Farm, or On The Rise Bakery and Cafe.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Detroit
Ronald McDonald House Charities offers places worldwide for families to stay while their children are hospitalized to avoid incurring any extra costs on hotel and food bills — and the Detroit chapter is no different. There is a Ronald McDonald House of Detroit for the Children's Hospital of Michigan, as well as a Ronald McDonald Family Room within the hospital to give families a space to relax while remaining close to their child. Here's how to help:
Donate money online.
Prepare a meal or drop off a universally liked food — like pizza or a sandwich platter — for residents of the house.
Collect pop tabs from cans from beverage cans, canned goods and even pet food cans. For each pound of can pop tabs, Ronald McDonald House Charities can get between 30 to 75 cents which goes to supporting residents that stay at the house.
Volunteer to help out around the house with housekeeping, yardwork, and more.
Inspired by the "Peanuts" character, Linus, who carries around his little blue blanket, Project Linus provides handmade blankets to children who are sick, traumatized, or otherwise in need. Blankets are collected at local chapters and distributed at hospitals, shelters, social service agencies and anywhere else a child is in need. There are three chapters in or near metro Detroit: the Dearborn/Wayne County chapter, the Troy/Eastern Oakland County chapter, and the Flushing chapter, which serves Genesee County. Here's how to help:
Become a blanketeer by crafting a handmade, washable blanket to donate to a child in need, or donate materials for blanket-making. Contact the chapter coordinators to find out what blanket types and materials are most needed and where blanket drop-off sites can be located.
Donate money online to Project Linus' "A Season of Giving" event or through the mail by check or money order. In your donation, you can specify if the donation is for the benefit of a particular chapter.
Friends of Detroit Animal Care and Control
Friends of Detroit Animal Care and Control works with Detroit Animal Care and Control (DACC) to help "get animals from Detroit adopted back into Detroit." Friends of DACC takes care of volunteer management, donation solicitation, and live release — all of which aid in helping animals in the shelter and proactively keeping animals out of the shelter. Here's how to help:
Donate money online or by mail to help care for homeless animals during their time in the shelter, or sponsor a dog to cover medical care, including neutering/spaying and vaccinations, microchipping, training, and other goods like a collar and leash. Find details about donating or sponsoring a dog here.
Volunteer in the shelter or at adoption events, fundraisers, or microchip clinics.
Foster a dog with one of their unique, low-commitment fostering options: take a dog out for the day on a #DetroitDogventure, take a dog home for one night for a slumber party, or take a dog home for a long weekend or a week as a couch surfer.
Forgotten Harvest aims to relieve hunger in metro Detroit while preventing food waste. Every day, it delivers about 144,000 pounds of surplus food to local charities, food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. Here's how to help:
Donate money online or by check through the mail. Whatever you donate can buy an average of seven times worth of groceries for families in need.
Sponsor up to four apple trees in the Orchard of Hope on the grounds of Blake's Big Apple as a part of Forgotten Harvest's partnership with Blake Farms. Each donation of $250 maintains an apple tree for 10 years, helping the orchard provide about 50,000 pounds of fresh apples to feed those in need each fall.
Volunteer for one of the numerous volunteer opportunities, including packing and distributing food and emergency boxes.
Bottomless Toy Chest
The Bottomless Toy Chest brings toys, crafts, and other interactive activities to pediatric cancer patients year-round through inpatient and outpatient programs and special events, but it gets into the Christmas spirit for its "Tons of Toys Holiday Event" where its volunteer Elf Squad delivers toys to patients and siblings in oncology clinics throughout the holiday season. Here's how to help:
Have a wrap party. Bottomless Toy Chest will supply the toys and wrapping materials, all you have to do is wrap the gifts.
Sponsor a toy drive to rack in a variety of gift donations.
Host a fundraiser. As the Bottomless Toy Chest says: "It costs an average of $15 to purchase a project. Think of how many kids you could help if you raised $500 — $10,000 or more!"
Variety — the Children's Charity of Detroit
Variety — the Children's Charity of Detroit hopes to change the lives of children with physical and mental disabilities and other special needs. It has a true variety of initiatives, from helping families acquire basic needs and resources to helping families get prosthetic limbs for their children, to providing unique opportunities like its therapeutic 4-H Horseback Riding Program and its annual "Holiday Adopt-A-Child and Santa's Workshop" on Dec. 2. Here's how to help:
For the Holiday Adopt-A-Child and Santa's Workshop, adopt a child by calling or emailing Variety with your contact information and the number of children that you would like to adopt. Then, it will provide you with your adopted child's details and wishes so you can go shopping, or you can make a monetary donation and a volunteer will do the shopping for you. Then, bring your unwrapped gifts to Santa's Workshop on Dec. 2 and celebrate the holiday season while wrapping the gifts with materials provided by Variety Detroit. The wrapped presents will then be delivered to your adopted child.
Donate money online to be used even after the holiday season is over.
Freedom House Detroit
Freedom House Detroit provides a place for refugees, asylum seekers, and others seeking protection to stay while escaping persecution. While the housing is only temporary, it makes a life-changing impact in helping refugees achieve freedom. Here's how to help:
Donate money online or by check to help pay for food, clothing, medical care and more, or sponsor an asylum seeker for at least $35 a month.
Purchase basic needs and other goods for seekers with Freedom House Detroit's "Help Restore Dignity" Amazon wish list.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Giving Tuesday: 10 metro Detroit charities to donate money, time