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How to help for the holidays

Heather Artushin/Special to the Tribune • Dec 4, 2017 at 10:00 AM

In the midst of our holiday shopping, decorating and celebrating with family and friends, we must not forget those in our community who are in need at this special time of year.

Local charitable organizations are seeking donations of all kinds to provide food, warm clothing and Christmas gifts for our neighbors. 

Representatives from four prominent local charities share their most urgent needs this holiday season, and how you can make a difference.

The Salvation Army, Grand Haven


• New toys for children ages birth to teen.

• Monetary donations dropped in the red kettle, online or through the mail.

• Food donations of non-perishable goods.

• Donations to the capital campaign to build a multipurpose center addition.

“We want to finish raising these funds by the end of the year,” explained Jay Davis, captain administrator who oversees The Salvation Army operations in North Ottawa County. “We still need about $250,000.” 

How can you give?

“The community can donate to our brick-and-mortar location in Grand Haven at 310. N DeSpelder behind Home Depot, or they can mail in a check to The Salvation Army at 310 N. DeSpelder, Grand Haven, MI 49417; or they can donate online at https://give.salvationarmyusa.org,” Davis said

Make a difference

Your financial contributions to The Salvation Army can make a direct impact on the lives of families in the community.

“For example,” Davis said, “a $25 donation can feed a family for three days through our food pantry, and a $100 donation to our housing program can house a homeless family for a week. ... When someone puts change in the red kettle, they can expect 100 percent of those funds to stay locally to change a person’s circumstances.” 

The People Center, Spring Lake


• Food pantry donations including, but not limited to: macaroni and cheese, tuna fish, soups, cold and hot cereal, canned fruit, pasta and sauce, etc. 

• Non-food donations including toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo and soap, and cleaning supplies including carpet cleaner and dish soap.

• Clothing items including hats, mittens, children’s clothing and blankets.

“The biggest needs don’t change for The People Center because it is Christmas — we are in need all year,” explained the center’s director, Karen Reenders. “Our community is very generous and has been doing food drives for us. I would love to see that continue throughout the year.”

How can you give?

Donations can be dropped off at The People Center, 307 E. Exchange St. in Spring Lake, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“I am in great need of host volunteers that man our open hours,” Reenders said. “It is one three-hour shift per month.”

Make a difference 

“Donations and community involvement are a big piece of our organization,” Reenders said. “We adore this community and how much they help those in need.” 

Love in Action, Grand Haven


• Financial donations. “Financial donations are always our biggest need, especially at the end of the year when we rely on collecting our largest amount of donations, which will drive our ability to serve the community next year,” shared Laura Liu, director of client services for Love in Action. 

• Cold weather gear including coats, new gloves, new hats, snow boots (all sizes).

• New blankets and new or gently used sleeping bags.

• Children’s pajamas (newborn to size 18). “At this time, we are particularly in need of sizes 6-18 for both boys and girls,” Liu said.

• New socks and underwear.

• Diapers.

• Non-perishable food.

How can you give?

Brand-new items and financial donations can be dropped off at Love In Action’s main office, 326 N. Ferry St. Financial donations are also accepted by mail to the above address.

Donations of gently used items and food can be dropped off at the Donation Processing Center, 1106 Fulton Ave. 

“Another way to get involved is to volunteer,” offered Liu. “We have over 20 different volunteer opportunities with a wide range. Those interested can call our office at 616-846-2701 or email our volunteer coordinator at [email protected].”

Make a difference

“Many of these donations go straight to the homeless members of our community,” Liu said. “Thousands of other community members who struggle with low income are also supported with these donations by utilizing our client services. All of these donations are used to give individuals a ‘hand-up’ while we walk beside them in helping them discover their strengths and gifts, and how to elevate their own lives.” 

St. Patrick/St. Anthony’s Parish 


• Monetary donations.

• Gas cards. “People come to us asking us to help them in paying bills, rent and all the type of things,” said Jose Astua, director of Mission and Ministry for St. Patrick/St. Anthony Catholic Church in Grand Haven. “It looks like people have more expenses this time of year. Cash donations will be really great because most people are coming to ask for money.”

• Food donations.

• Adopt-a-Family. “Some people call us because they don’t have anything for Christmas, so we try to match them with someone who would like to adopt the family to do their Christmas shopping for them,” Astua explained. “Call me at 616-842-0001, ext. 122, to offer to adopt a family.” 

How can you give?

Drop off donations to the parish, 920 Fulton Ave., Grand Haven.

Make a difference

“Your donations will help them to feel that they are part of something bigger, that they are not alone,” Astua said. “To feel that people care for them and that God loves them. It shows God’s love through the rest of the community. We have a really great giving community here in Grand Haven and most churches work together for the good of the entire people here.”

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