Volunteer to Make a Difference This Holiday Season

By: Michael Fossbakk | December 3, 2013

So many times in our busy lives we use the excuse “I just didn’t have time.” While on some occasions that is true, most of time that phrase translates to “I was just too tired,” or “I didn’t feel like it.”  I know I am guilty of such things, but I love to help people out when I can. Volunteering or helping out charities is a great way to do that. Detroit and its metropolitan area are full of them. I truly believe Detroit is on a rise, but some extra sets of hands are what will make the necessary difference.

A Time To Help is run by best-selling author (among many other titles), Mitch Albom. Albom, who has many ties to Detroit, established this charity in 1997 in an attempt to inspire more Detroiters to volunteer on a regular basis. Since its beginning, A Time to Help has been the catalyst for more than 100 monthly projects. These projects include, but are not limited to: building houses, repairing homeless shelters and running adoption fairs. A Time to Help operates under Albom’s umbrella of Detroit charities, which also includes S.A.Y. (Super All Year) Detroit, A Hole in the Roof Foundation and The Dream Fund. I have had friends volunteer here, and I am planning on joining them this holiday season. An upcoming opportunity will be Saturday, December 7 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. when the charity hosts its annual christmas party for homeless families. Each volunteer is asked to bring at least one unwrapped gift.

Capuchin Soup Kitchen has been tending to the needs of Detroiters since The Great Depression of 1929. The soup kitchen provides food, clothing and nourishment for those who need it. Capuchins are a religious community of friars inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, and they give care to whoever may need it—the poor, the homeless, the needy. This charity works to understand and address root causes of social injustice in our community. This organization offers several programs to give back to and strengthen the community. No matter your religious views, this is a great place to volunteer. The only three requirements are that you bring a willingness to work hard, a positive and open attitude and a smile.

Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, based in Midtown Detroit, is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country. It has conducted more than 700 cancer-specific investigation programs and clinical trials, as well as cares for 6,000 new patients annually. Karmanos has several types of volunteer positions; ranging from help with clerical work to just being a friendly visitor and brightening the day of somebody fighting cancer, to navigators or musicians. Thousands of volunteers help Karmanos each year because cancer has touched almost everyone in some way.

Michigan Animal Rescue League located in Pontiac, rescues cats and dogs out of desperate situations. MARL helps animals who were abused, neglected or homeless gain back the ability to connect with people and enjoy life. This organization offers many ways to volunteer. Some of the programs include The Cat Care Program, dog walking and third party events to raise funds. If you love animals please help them out by volunteering.

There are many other great charities around Detroit as well. I have volunteered at soup kitchens and non-profits like Teen HYPE, but I know I should be doing more. Perhaps you should too?