'Tis the season for giving — charity and volunteer work, too. These are just a handful of MT's preferred local charities. We encourage you to give generously now, and all year!
Capuchin Soup Kitchen
With a meal program, substance abuse services, an urban farm, bakery, children's program, and services center, Capuchin seeds a community need and does their best to fill it — even providing clothing, appliances, furniture, and emergency food to those in need. And you can be a part of it! cskdetroit.org.
Alternatives for Girls
This local group is heralded for helping girls and young women rise out of challenging circumstances (including homelessness, teen pregnancy, and exploitation), by providing services such as prevention support, outreach, and shelter, along with other resources and opportunities. Check out their open house on Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at 903 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; alternativesforgirls.org.
Motor City Blight Busters
Launched in 1988, this nonprofit does the work that Detroit officials say is the city's No. 1 priority in the coming years: dealing with blight. According to the Blight Busters, its core of 120,000 volunteers have painted 684 homes, boarded up and secured 379 abandoned buildings, and built 114 new homes. In all, it's created adequate housing for over 1,100 people. Nearly 4,000 volunteers have helped volunteer on Detroit's Angels' Night patrols. 18220 Lahser Rd., Detroit; 313-255-4355; mcbbdetroit.com.
Young Detroit Builders
Not only does this nonprofit offer a program of support services, counseling, and on-the-job residential construction training, students involved earn pay while partaking in the Young Detroit Builder's 10-month training program. After the program wraps up, the nonprofit says it provides opportunities for job placement and additional follow-up assistance. 1627 W. Lafayette Ave., Detroit; 313-964-2763; youngdetroitbuilders.com.
The nonprofit Wigs4Kids offers free wigs and services to children and young adults who've lost their hair due to cancer. The wigs are "custom-fitted, age-appropriate, and individually cut and styled as requested by a child or teenager." 30126 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-772-6656; wigs4kids.org
The Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP)
Now in its 24th year, PCAP offers a multitude of services to incarcerated adults and youth. Housed out of the University of Michigan's residential college, PCAP engages prison members with a variety of workshops, including creative writing, theater, and music. Most notably, it hosts an annual prisoner art exhibition, the largest in the world, according to PCAP.
1801 East Quad, 701 E. University, Ann Arbor; 734-647-7673; lsa.umich.edu/pcap.
Local nonprofit Handy Hearts helps cancer patients with integrative holistic care that's complementary to traditional medical treatment. They offer physical therapy, chiropractic care, and nutritional services, along with care packages for patients and those who care for them. You can donate to the cause or spend a few hours volunteering at fun events that help raise money for the organization. Check their website for a complete schedule. (Full disclosure: MT staffer Alysa Offman sits on the board.) handyhearts.org.
The Ruth Ellis Center
Named for the pioneering lesbian who opened her Detroit home to gay African-American kids in the 1930s, this center provides a safe, supportive environment for urban youth to address issues of sexuality and the challenges of life at home. 77 Victor St., Highland Park; 313-867-6936; ruthelliscenter.org
Continue helping animals in need and educating dog owners is what "C.H.A.I.N.E.D." stands for. This local nonprofit helps enhance the lives of dogs in Southwest Detroit and Downriver by educating owners of chained and outside canines. They provide insulated doghouses, fences, spay and neuter assistance, heartworm prevention, and owner education. You can help by donating money, volunteering (thanks to volunteers, they've helped over 1,100 dogs to date), donating dog-related items, or attending their charity events that help raise money for the cause. chained2011.org.
Greening of Detroit
Now a long-established and well-known nonprofit in the Motor City, the Greening of Detroit makes sure the city is, well, green. But planting trees isn't all they do; they also do workforce development, which imparts its students with skills in landscape reading and estimating, irrigation systems, plant maintenance, and more. To support the Greening of Detroit and all their efforts, you can make a donation, or volunteer either as an individual or with a group. greeningofdetroit.com.
Gleaners Community Food Bank
Founded in Detroit in 1977, this nonprofit is dedicated to uniting hungry people with food. The organization collects and distributes food throughout the year by accepting donations and holding food drives. You can help by volunteering to package bundles of food that will go to the needy or by donating cash or parcels of non-perishable goods. gfcb.org.
Formed in 2013, Healthy Detroit is a nonprofit public health organization dedicated to building a culture of healthy, active living in the city of Detroit. Healthy Detroit's goal is to help decrease the number of citizens suffering from preventable, chronic illnesses and to improve access to healthy food options in the city's neighborhoods. By offering people the resources to make healthy choices, Healthy Detroit strives to reduce disparities in access to quality health care and aims to improve the quality of life, health, and well-being of every Detroiter at every stage of life. (Full disclosure: MT sales rep Eric Holka serves on the board.) healthydetroit.org.
Navin Field Grounds Crew
Since 2010 this team of tireless volunteers has preserved the land of old Tiger Stadium (originally known as Navin Field) — the infield, the outfield, and the ballpark's historic dimensions. They've even installed a Little League diamond. While they're not a formal nonprofit, the do have a number of expenses, including lawn mowers and garbage bags. Gift cards to Lowe's and Home Depot are always helpful. And they can always use a hand picking up trash and caring for the field. Cleaning "The Corner" on Christmas Day has become an annual tradition, one you and your family are invited to take part in. Facebook.com/NFGC2010.