Give Thanks by Giving Back Around Michigan

It’s nearly that time of year when we gather with friends and family around a delicious meal (and likely some football) to reflect on what we are thankful for.

One of the best ways to express that gratitude is to give back to your community. With organizations supporting a variety of causes all over Michigan, there is no shortage of opportunities for you and your family to get involved. Here are just a few of the ways to share your time and energy this Thanksgiving and throughout the year:

Children’s Hospitals

Unfortunately, illness doesn’t take a holiday. Michigan is home to a number of wonderful children’s hospitals that offer volunteer opportunities. As an example, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan needs volunteers to rock and feed babies, read to children, visit patients with certified pet therapy dogs, act as a tour guide or participate in art cart activities. Find out how you can be of service at Children’s Hospital of Michigan here. You can also learn about volunteering and fundraising opportunities at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Bronson Children’s Hospital and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Meals on Wheels 

This is a wonderful opportunity to make sure everyone in Michigan can enjoy a delicious meal during the holidays. Meals on Wheels is committed to providing nutritious food to seniors who have limited mobility or who may not be able to cook for themselves. Volunteer opportunities include pantry work, cooking, administrative duties and delivering food. You can find more details about volunteering here.

Ronald McDonald House 

For families with sick children in the hospital, Ronald McDonald House provides a home-away-from-home. To keep families comfortable and feeling as normal as possible, consider taking a shift at a local Ronald McDonald House. You can greet families, answer phones and keep kitchen and public areas clean and organized. Love cooking? Make a home-cooked meal to share with residents. Certain tasks require volunteers to be 18 or older, so if you want to get the whole family involved, consider hosting a fundraiser or donating common household items to the house. Find the location nearest you.

Volunteers of America 

Service through Volunteers of America supports our nation’s veterans, homeless, seniors and many others in need. Activities you can participate in include sorting clothes for the homeless, serving meals and helping with administrative work. With opportunities available statewide and year-round, there is something for everyone looking to support their community. You can apply to volunteer, here.

Soup Kitchens, Homeless Shelters & Food Pantries 

It would be impossible to list all the amazing organizations in our state that provide help and hope to the most vulnerable among us. Most are non-profits and heavily rely on volunteer support to maximize limited budget dollars. Homelessness in America has a search engine to help you find local organizations that might be in need of your help as a volunteer or you can simply contact local organizations you know of to offer your assistance.

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Photo credit: Steve Debenport

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