Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, it’s time to forget about new flat screen TVs, virtual reality glasses, and Instant Pots, and focus on supporting organizations and charities that truly make the world a better place.
Tuesday, November 27, is Giving Tuesday, an annual global day of giving that is meant to kick off the charitable season.
Our team at 8THIRTYFOUR is committed to giving back to our local community and takes great pride in working with several nonprofits in West Michigan. In honor of #GivingTuesday, a few of our team members have rounded up our favorite organizations that we hope you will consider when you are make donations this year:
Disability Advocates of Kent County has been doing extraordinary work for more than 36 years on behalf of individuals and the community. They provide support around community resources, housing, employment, transportation, and veterans assistance. They tirelessly advocate for public policy change to increase accessibility at the local, state and federal levels.
We would be remiss if we didn’t also mention the many amazing animal shelters and rescues in our community. Jimmy Lab was rescued from Vicky’s Pet Connection over six years ago and while he is no longer with us, the work Vicky’s is doing for senior dogs is incredibly important. You can find out more about their Golden Paws program here.
The Humane Society of West Michigan is bursting at the seams with adoptable pets, so please stop by there this holiday season to volunteer or to add a new member to your family.
We are so incredibly fortunate to have Ele’s Place in our community, a place for grieving children and teens that offers life-changing programs. They also partner with schools to work with students – it is such necessary and important work. One in twenty children under the age of 18 will have experienced the death of a parent and many others will grieve the death of a sibling or another important person in their lives.
Another incredible organization is the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. Founded in 1977, it is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering anyone affected by a burn injury. They offer incredible programs, resources, education, and more.
The Grand Rapids Pride Center provides crucial, and oftentimes life-saving, services to the LGBTQ community in and around Grand Rapids. In 2018 alone, the organization has served over 2,500 individuals through social and support groups, including 1,400 youth and young adults. The Center also hosts Grand Rapids’ annual Pride Festival that had nearly 12,000 attendees this year, and provides inclusivity and sensitivity training to area businesses and nonprofits.
On Monday and Friday nights, Kula Yoga hosts a community $5 donation yoga class for a different local charity. I have the pleasure of instructing the Friday night classes every week, and recently the proceeds have been going to the Humane Society of West Michigan. It has been fulfilling to see how much money the class raises each week. Plus, you get an awesome work out in while giving back to your community!
Kids’ Food Basket is a wonderful organization that tackles childhood hunger head-on in order to ensure that young people in our communities can learn and live well. More than 1 in 5 Michigan children are affected by hunger, and Kids’ Food Basket provides access to good, nourishing food to more than 8,000 children in West Michigan every day. There is still a huge need, so if you are able to provide monetary donations or spend time volunteering, your help will be extremely appreciated. The Kids’ Food Basket website makes it very easy to get involved and find ways that you can make a difference.
Baxter Community Center is a fantastic organization located in Grand Rapids. Baxter reaches out to local youth and families to provide a myriad of different services, including an after-school program for kids, a food pantry, and even greenhouse programs. Plus, every summer they work with volunteers to create flower beds throughout the community.
Baxter accepts donations, volunteers, and sponsors. They even have wish lists on their website so that you or your organization can collect exactly what they need. I’ve had some great experiences working with Baxter and seeing the difference they make in the community. Check out their website if you want to get involved!
i understand is a local organization that is working to erase the stigma and judgment associated with mental illness, and more specifically, suicide. Suicide affects many people, and it can be hard for family and friends who lose a loved one to suicide or mental illness to navigate what to do next. i understand currently has a petition to change the definition of suicide in the dictionary, sign it here!
i understand offers free monthly support groups for those who have lost a loved one by suicide. They also have free monthly community events for everyone to join in on the conversation while taking part in something fun, like ornament making or wine and canvas nights.
Want to get involved? Follow their Facebook page to receive updates on events or join the Wear Care Share campaign. Start a conversation in our community by wearing an i understand t-shirt. Find out more on their page! #iunderstandloveheals
Many organizations are also in need of volunteers, so if you are unable to provide monetary donations this year, take the time to seek out volunteer opportunities. Go forth and give back this #GivingTuesday!