8 Great Ways to Volunteer In Metro Detroit

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Volunteers at Focus:HOPE - Courtesy Photo

“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.” – Mother Teresa

As the holidays approach we find ourselves reminded of how important it is to share and to give. While there are many great ways to volunteer throughout the year, these are some of the wonderful ways you can give during the upcoming holiday season.

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen

Founded in 1929, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen has faithfully served the people of Metro Detroit by providing food, clothing, counseling services, children’s programs and more. Since the beginning, the heart of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen has been its volunteers who prepare food, serve meals, tend the Earthworks garden, tutor and mentor children, and even assist in their Arts program at the Children’s Library. During the holiday season the Capuchin Soup Kitchen prepares and donates food baskets and also runs a coat donation and distribution program.

To volunteer with the Capuchin Soup Kitchen email at: volunteer@cskdetroit.org

Gleaners Community Food Bank of SE Michigan

Gleaners Community Food Bank has been a part of Southeastern Michigan for more than 37 years striving to “feed hungry people and nourish our communities.” Last year alone, Gleaners distributed more than 41 million pounds of emergency food to more than 550 partnering soup kitchens. In the fall of 2013 Gleaner’s drafted a plan to further reduce hunger in Southeastern Michigan and promote self-sufficiency. One of the largest parts of their plan is engaging agency partners, donors and most importantly volunteers. There are many ways to pitch in including working at a distribution center sorting and packing food, helping people feel welcome as a Gleaners Greeter, packing SmartBites bags for the Kids Helping Kids program, assisting professional chefs and nutritionists in the Cooking Matters nutritional education program and much more.

To volunteer with Gleaners visit: http://www.gcfb.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pg_volunteeropportunities or call 866-GLEANERS


45 years ago Focus:HOPE was founded as an organization dedicated to “finding intelligent and practical solutions to the problems of hunger, economic disparity, inadequate education and racial divisiveness.” Since then they have become a nationally recognized civil and human rights organization providing assistance to Southeast Michiganders through their food program, career training programs and the HOPE Village Initiative. Through Focus:HOPE you can volunteer by packing and delivering food to senior citizens, tutoring students, assisting in caregiving for children, assisting in the Community Arts program, becoming part of community development project, and more. A great way to get involved is with the Special Holiday Delivery on Dec. 20 by helping to provied holiday meals to 1,250 senior citizens.

To volunteer with Focus:HOPE call: 313-494-4270 (313-494-5520 for the Special Holiday Delivery) or email at volunteer@focushope.edu.

Meals on Wheels/Detroit Area Agency on Aging

Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit volunteer-based service that provides one well-balanced meal each day, delivered directly to the door of homebound individuals 60 years or older, adults with disabilities, and those that are unable to shop or prepare meals for themselves. Meals on Wheels also provides daily contact with trained volunteers giving much needed social interaction and a link to the community. This year the Detroit Area Agency on Aging and Detroit Meals on Wheels are looking for volunteers to help deliver 5,700 meals to homebound seniors in the Detroit area. This will occur Wednesday Nov. 26 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and on Thanksgiving, Nov. 27 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

To volunteer with the DAAA Holiday Meals on Wheels Thanksgiving call: 313-466-4444, ext. 5804

Arts & Scraps

Founded in 1989 Arts & Scraps is a Detroit nonprofit organization that recycles more than 28 tons of industrial material annually. They use it to help 275,000 children learn through creating. A storefront at 16135 Harper Road in Detroit sells affordable bulk materials and educational kits for individuals and groups. Arts & Scraps also provides hands-on workshops and events throughout Southeastern Michigan. Volunteers who provide 10,000 hours annually keep Arts & Scraps alive and able to provide resources for learning and creativity to children all over the Metro Detroit area. Help out by packing kits and preparing materials at their warehouse, helping families to create projects and public or private events, or by sharing your special talent (anything from IT to office maintenance or even janitorial work), or even join a committee or short term team. On Dec. 6 at the Detroit Public Library for Detroit’s annual ‘Noel Night’ you can donate your time to help children and families create unique projects for the holiday season.

To volunteer with Arts & Scraps call: 313-640-4411 ext. 5

Back Alley Bikes/The Hub of Detroit

Back Alley Bikes is a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 that works to develop and inspire the youth of Metro Detroit through bicycles, and uses donated bikes as a learning tool for youth and adults. They offer the Youth Earn-a-Bike program (Detroit’s longest running) which is available throughout the year and also provide year-round adult mechanic classes. The Hub of Detroit created in 2008 provides the training ground for young mechanics as well as a bicycling retail shop for the local community. Back Alley Bikes is always in need of volunteers. From maintaining The Hub to building bikes, assisting with transportation, becoming a Volunteer Youth Instructor, or even tabling an event. They will also be present at Noel Night this year in the Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation’s Community Space at 3535 Cass Ave.

To volunteer with Back Alley Bikes visit: http://thehubofdetroit.org/volunteer-at-the-hub-of-detroit-and-back-alley-bikes/ to fill out the necessary forms.

Home FurEver

A nonprofit, no kill, foster based canine rescue that officially began in 2003, Home FurEver takes in all dogs regardless of breed or circumstances and has rescued nearly 4,500 dogs and puppies. All support comes from donations and fundraising, and they foster up to 130 dogs at one time. Home FurEver is always looking for people with big hearts to be volunteers and foster parents. Home FurEver operates adoption events every saturday typically rotating at Petco in both Troy and Roseville. Volunteers are needed this holiday season to help set up and break down adoption events, take pictures of the dogs and puppies, help care for the dogs and puppies, and talk with potential adopters.

To volunteer with Home FurEver email: margo@homefurever.com

The Greening of Detroit

Since 1989, The Greening of Detroit has planted more than 81,000 trees throughout Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland park. In 2013 alone, approximately 4,000 trees were planted with the help of more than 4,000 volunteers. The Greening’s urban agriculture department runs programs that help all Detroiters find a healthy relationship with food through self-sufficient food production and increased awareness of gardening, local food systems and nutrition. The Greening of Detroit also supplements the Fresh Food Share program through Gleaner’s, provides weekly shares of produce to staff and volunteers, and sells its produce at farmers’ markets in Detroit. Whether it’s planting trees or tending gardens, The Greening is always in need of volunteers and November 21st and 22nd there will be a planting of 152 trees in the Berg-Lahser community.

To volunteer with The Greening of Detroit call: 313-237-8733 or email at julia@greeningofdetroit.com

The holidays encourage us to remember that we have within us the power, with one action, to change not only a person’s life, but the world. Whether it’s packing boxes, serving meals, fixing bikes, making crafts, petting a pooch or even planting a tree, there is a way for all of us to give back, no matter the season.

1 comment
  • We are new to the area. Do any of these organizations allow elementary school aged children to help out along side of their parents?

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