Holiday help

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:51 AM

Before Santa loads his sleigh, some area organizations hope they're on Rudolph's route this year.

From frozen turkeys and hams to clothing, curtains and cash, local nonprofit leaders say their holiday needs are great and resources often few.

So, if you want to help make wishes come true, here's a roundup of what you can do:

Center for Women in Transition

The “adopt-a-family” program is in full swing this holiday season and in need of gift cards, nonperishable food, cleaning and laundry supplies, air mattresses, paper products, kitchen and bath items, bedding, and new books and toys. You may drop off donations at the Center for Women in Transition's Grand Haven office, 300 N. Ferry St., Suite C; or call Sherry at 616-494-1747 for additional arrangements.


Donations of gently used clothing and household items highlight Goodwill's wish list. The organization also refurbishes or recycles unwanted computers and televisions.

“Many people purchase new TVs or computers around the holidays and don't know what to do with their old equipment,” said Liz Witzler, marketing director of Goodwill Industries of West Michigan. “Please donate them to Goodwill.”

Financial donations are also welcome. Checks may be mailed to Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, 271 E. Apple Ave., Muskegon, MI 49442. All donations and proceeds from purchases at the Robbins Road store stay in West Michigan.

Lakeshore Toys for Tots

Toys, toys and more toys, for all the good little girls and boys — that's what's on the Lakeshore Toys For Tots' wish list in its effort to provide gifts for youngsters who may otherwise go without. The U.S. Marine Corps collects toys for all ages, but they're especially in need of fun things for infants and adolescents. Sporting goods and backpacks are popular gifts. Dozens of donation boxes are set up throughout Ottawa County. Visit lakeshoretoysfortots.org or call 800-518-0933 for bulk pick-up scheduling.

The Little Red House

Topping The Little Red House's wish list are cash donations in $11 increments. That amount pays for one hour of licensed care at the Spring Lake adult day care facility, including meals and activities.

“These holiday gifts will be utilized to 'scholarship' many (caregivers) who come to our door and ask for help for an hour or two,” said Little Red House Executive Director Jody Herrelko. “A caregiver or family member may have to go to the airport to pick up a family member, or they have a lunch engagement or a doctor's appointment. They may need an hour or two or a half-day to do some holiday shopping. How nice to be able to say that community members gave scholarship money to allow them this much-needed respite and time away.”

Holiday gift certificates are also available. Visit thelittleredhouse.org or call 616-846-5720 for information. Checks may be mailed to The Little Red House, 311 E. Exchange St., Spring Lake, MI 49456.

Love INC

Love INC wants to talk turkey.

“We could easily take 500 frozen turkeys and they'd be gone before you know it,” Love INC Tri-Cities CEO Eric Morgan. “And definitely food, nonperishables.”

The nonprofit Christian organization provides food to many area food banks, and also operates shelters for men and women. Hats, mittens, winter coats, Harbor Transit passes and cash are always welcome. Drop off or mail donations to 1106 Fulton Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417.

North Ottawa County Council on Aging

Dedicated to the emotional, social and physical well-being of area senior citizens, the North Ottawa County Council on Aging is in need of durable medical equipment — including shower seats, walkers and wheelchairs. Also on the wish list are two laptop computers for information and referral capabilities, cash contributions to underwrite emergency needs and prescription assistance, cash for the agency's upcoming move and expansion, and gift cards to purchase art supplies for senior classes. Call the Council on Aging's executive director, Brigit Hassig, at 616-842-9210 to arrange a drop off; or mail donations to 422 Fulton Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417.

The People Center

The cupboards are going bare at Spring Lake's People Center, an organization that provides food, shelter and clothing for those in need. The center will host a food drive in December. Nonperishable items may also be dropped off at Whiz Bang Training at 233 Washington Ave., Suite 213, downtown Grand Haven.

“We have a list of needs on our website,” People Center Director Karen Reenders said. “We would also take frozen turkeys and frozen hams.”

Visit thepeoplecenter.org for information.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is in need of nonperishable food, toys for babies and youth to age 18, winter coats, hats, mittens, blankets, sheets, towels, pots, and pans.

“Our food pantry is way down this year,” said Twila Bishop, housing office assistant for The Salvation Army in Grand Haven. “And cash donations are always helpful.”

The Salvation Army provides food, clothing and emergency shelter to people in need. The local office operates four furnished apartments for housing needs. The organization hopes to raise more than $200,000 this year through the familiar bell ringers' red kettles and other donations, according to Capt. Jay Davis. Visit myghsa.org, call 842-3380, or mail or drop off gifts at 310 N. DeSpelder St. in Grand Haven.

Tri-Cities Ministries Counseling

Sarah Lewakowski, executive director for Tri-Cities Ministries Counseling, said 2012 is already a record year for her organization.

“We saw more people in 2012 than any other year in our 35-year history,” she said. “We provided over $500,000 worth of mental health services to our community on our budget of $195,000.”

Monetary donations are welcome.

“There is always an even greater need around the holidays,” Lewakowski said. “Feelings of depression, stress and grief can elevate during the holiday season.”

Donations may be made online at tcmcounseling.org; or by mailing a check to Tri-Cities Ministries Counseling, 120 S. Fifth St., Grand Haven, MI 49417.

United Way

The Greater Ottawa County United Way's campaign goal is $2.3 million this year, but it will take closer to $2.8 million to provide what the community actually needs to meet the agency's strategic plan, according to organization projections. The United Way strives to provide education, financial stability and health assistance to those in need, as well as meet basic human needs when emergency situations arise. Visit ottawaunitedway.org; or mail a donation to Greater Ottawa County United Way, 700 Fulton Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417.

Share a Little Warmth from the Heart

In partnership with Love INC, Spread a Little Warmth from the Heart will collect pajamas, blankets and slippers Dec. 6-18. Love INC will then distribute them to those in need. Local drop-off points include Leppink's Food Center, Rycenga Lumber, D&W Food Center, First Reformed Church and Spring Lake Wesleyan Church. Call Ruth Seelye at 231-777-3221 for information.

Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity

Executive Director Beth Hanis said the local Habitat for Humanity has volunteers lined up to build wheelchair ramps for those in need, but not enough funds to purchase materials.

"We're partnering with other organizations to make a lot of this happen," she said. "There are people that really have a need right now for wheelchair ramps and it would be nice if we could get this stuff done before the snow flies."

Hanis said donations are also needed for exterior home repairs for low-income families. Send donations to: Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 707, Grand Haven, MI 49417; or visit tricitieshabitat.org.

American Legion Crusade for Toys

The fire departments for the City of Grand Haven, Spring Lake Township, Robinson Township, Crockery Township and City of Ferrysburg, as well as Ottawa County and the Grand Haven Eagles, will be collecting new toys and money to help support the crusade, which benefits local families in need during the holidays. Firefighters will be collecting Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Area merchants will also be collecting to support local families. Last year, this program helped 225 families and more than 500 children. Place a new, unwrapped toy into the collection boxes marked “Crusade for Toys.” Money may also be sent to the American Legion, 900 Harbor Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417.

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