As the chilly winter weather settles over Michigan and the holiday season fast approaches, the needs of the disadvantaged in the community become more prevalent.
Amanda Schafer the executive director of the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation says that as we contemplate what we’re grateful for, this is also a time to think about people who are struggling.
“We don’t like the idea of our fellow community members going without. We have so many great charitable organizations in our community because of that,” Schafer says.
Here are a few local nonprofits making a difference in Isabella and Clare counties who have shared their wish lists this holiday season.
The Isabella County Child Advocacy Center provides a homey, kid-friendly waiting room for families and children.
Isabella County Child Advocacy Center
Mission statement: The Isabella County Child Advocacy Center is committed to providing a safe and child friendly environment that supports families throughout the child abuse investigation process. Our vision is to create a community free of childhood sexual and physical abuse and neglect.
When a child is physically or sexually assaulted, it can be difficult for families to know where to turn and how to best care for their child’s emotional wellbeing. Since 1980, the Isabella County Child Advocacy Center has been helping families gain access to legal advice, financial resources, counseling services, medical examinations, and more. The ICCAC also coordinates with various agencies to make the interview and investigation process easier for the children and families.
“We provide children and families resources so that this dark time doesn’t tarnish the rest of their lives,” says ICCAC Executive Director Meg Schubert.
- Gift cards for gas stations, grocery stores, and Staples
- Bottled water and K-cups
- Paper towels and toilet paper
- Hand soap and trash bags
For donation questions call 989-317-8787.
ICCAC: 2479 Rosewood Drive Suite B, Mt Pleasant, MI
Mid Michigan Industries
Mission statement: Developing inclusive communities and meaningful connection through employment and training.
When someone with a physical or intellectual disability cannot find employment, the community misses out on the valuable contributions those individuals have to offer. Mid Michigan Industries aims to solve this problem by providing individuals with a customized plan designed to teach them the skills they need to find employment, from scheduling a bus ride to picking out proper work attire.
“Everything that we do is very person-centered, so it really depends on what the needs of the individual are,” says MMI Communications Specialist Amanda Lawson. “Inclusive communities benefit everyone.”
- Passes to fitness centers and bowling alleys
- Season passes to county parks
- Passes to cultural events, movies or museums
- Art supplies
- Digital cameras
For donation questions call 989-773-6918.
MMI: 2426 Parkway Drive, Mt Pleasant, MI
In her bedroom at the Joshua's House shelter, Talissa Clark, 21, picks out the first outfit her son will wear nine days before her due date on Monday, Nov. 11.
Mission statement: Providing a loving home for expectant mothers in a Christ like atmosphere, preparing them to embrace God’s precious gift of life.
For Talissa Clark, pictured above, finding out she was pregnant was terrifying. She was in dire need of medical care, stable living conditions, and healthy food for herself and her unborn son. Joshua’s House filled that need for Clark and for other women who find themselves both homeless and pregnant.
“We help women who are homeless and pregnant be in a safe environment,” says President Rene’e Jeffords. “Once they get back on their feet, they can make their own contributions to the community.”
Joshua’s House ensures safe pregnancies, provides emotional and spiritual support, and gives women the opportunity to take classes on anything from cooking to parenting to entrepreneurship.
- Nonperishable food
- Women’s clothing and shoes
- Gas cards
- Gifts in kind from local businesses
For donation questions call 989-400-3301.
Joshua’s House: P.O. Box 405 Clare, MI 48617
Mid Michigan Big Brothers Big Sisters
Mission statement: Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.
For disadvantaged children and young adults — primarily those struggling with poverty —having a stable, nurturing role model can be life changing. Mid Michigan Big Brothers Big Sisters vets and pairs adult volunteers, or Bigs, with a compatible child, or Little. Bigs open their Little’s eyes to new experiences and ideas, giving them the opportunity to dream and imagine a better future for themselves.
“Our volunteers spend a lot of time encouraging their Littles to follow their dreams and to not be discouraged,” says Executive Director Carol Bruce-Gage. “Having a role model and someone who helps them aspire to be everything they can be is huge.”
- Office supplies
- Craft supplies
- Board games
- Outdoor games
- Napkins, paper plates, and cups
For donation questions call 989-386-9304.
MMBBBS: 104 W Fifth St, Clare, MI
Community members escape from the cold and find a warm meal at the Isabella Community Soup Kitchen.
Isabella Community Soup Kitchen
Mission statement: We exist to share free meals in a warm, safe environment where all are welcome.
In Michigan’s lower peninsula there are only nine soup kitchens that serve hot meals on a daily basis: the Isabella Community Soup Kitchen is one of them. Serving approximately 100 meals a day, six days a week, the ICSK provides a safe, warm environment where guests can take refuge, rest, and socialize.
“The people we serve include seniors, single parents, college students, veterans, and some people who are experiencing homeless,” says the ICSK Executive Director Sarah Adkins. “We’re here to provide a hot meal to anyone who needs one.”
- Canned foods
- Coffee, sugar, and cooking spray
- Paper plates, powder-free latex gloves, and napkins
- Noodles and spaghetti sauce
- Peanut butter and jelly
For donation questions call 989-772-7392.
ICSK: 621 S Adams St, Mt Pleasant, MI
Mid Michigan Community Action Agency
Mission statement: Mid Michigan Community Action Agency guides local residents on the path to self-sufficiency through empowerment, education, and community enrichment.
Need comes in a variety of forms - from trouble paying bills to food insecurity to homelessness and everything in between. The Mid Michigan Community Action Agency uses its resources to help those experiencing need of any kind and of any capacity. With a primary focus on helping children and families, veterans, seniors, and runaway or homeless youth, the MMCAA helps individuals secure proper employment, adequate housing, food, and financial resources.
“When we can match people with the services they need, they will be warm and fed and healthy — and that’s always worth it,” says MMCAA Media Specialist Coralie Kuziak.
- Personal hygiene items
- Nonperishable food
- Snow/rain boots ages 3-5
For donation questions call 989-386-3805.
MMCAA: 1574 E Washington Road, Farwell, MI
At cat curiously peers out of its cage at the Humane Animal Treatment Society.
Humane Animal Treatment Society
Mission statement: To empower our community to support the compassionate treatment of all animals.
Each year, 1,000 unwanted or sick animals are cared for by the Humane Animal Treatment Society. While the animals await their adoption into a good family, they are provided food, vaccinations, veterinary care, and a safe environment.
“We work closely with animal control to protect animals from cruelty and neglect, and work hard to give the animals we bring in a second chance in life,” says Executive Director Angela Miedema. “As the only animal shelter in Isabella County, we care for all the homeless, sick, or injured animals that need our help.”
- Canned dog food
- Canned cat food
- Blue Dawn dish soap
- Pet-friendly ice melt salt
- Laundry detergent
For donation questions call 989-775-0830.
HATS: 1105 S Isabella Road, Mt Pleasant, MI
More ways to give
There are many more valuable nonprofits and organizations working hard to make an impact in this community. Beyond a tangible donation, financial gifts and volunteering are excellent ways to support any local nonprofit.
To send a cash donation or find out how to volunteer at one of the nonprofits listed above, visit their website or give them a call.