By Karina Stephens

A great way to ring in the holidays is by lending a helping hand to someone in need.  The holidays are a wonderful time to be thankful, celebrate, and help make someone else’s holiday season as special as possible.  Offering time and effort can be just as good as donating money, but since many college students don’t have the money to be shelling out to charities of their choice, try giving your time at any one of these local places in need!

If you are one of those college students who doesn’t have the time or money to be giving out this holiday season, many local shelters also take food, clothing, or toiletry donations, also.  Many of the local charities are desperately in need of these things, especially around the holidays and beginning of a new year.  

Visit to find shelters that accept item donations as well as volunteers.

Wayne County Family Center (734-721-0590) is a homeless shelter in Westland that offers transitional housing for homeless families.  They accept items (year-round, but encourage more donating near the holiday season) such as “toiletries, bedding, nonperishable and perishable food.”  They do not accept clothing or anything used.  “We don’t have the storage room to accept any clothing, coats, or shoes of any kind.” said employee Pamela.  “We have a wish list online that we use to receive the items that we need most around the holidays,” said Tamika Andrews at the shelter.

Several shelters in Detroit are open to volunteers and donations, as well, such as the Judah Transitional and Recovery Home.  This shelter in Detroit is a minority-owned, faith-based shelter that offers services and shelter for the homeless people in the area.  The organization has been going for three years and offers drug and alcohol prevention counseling and other life skills to get their people into jobs and permanent housing of their own.

This shelter accepts donations and will be beginning to accept more volunteers in December, perfect timing for the holidays or to even start up a regular volunteering schedule for next year.  You can find more information at or by calling (313) 658-8923.

It is slightly hard to get ahold of some of these places and many put callers on hold because of the high volume of phone calls, but it is well worth the effort.  They will appreciate it greatly and many are looking for more holiday volunteers along with material donations to make these holidays better for the people in need.

Another awesome volunteer opportunity is by participating in a holiday Meals On Wheels activity. 

“Every year, my boyfriend’s family and I deliver meals to elderly and disabled people on Christmas morning,” said Ashley Hesse, previous Madonna student.  “It feels good to help people in need out, especially around the holidays.”  She has been volunteering on Christmas day with Meals on Wheels for three years now.  Call 734-727-7357 for more information.


Spread holiday cheer and volunteer