Make Waves on the Lakeshore: Your Guide to Volunteer and Fundraising Opportunities

With so many ways to make a difference in our community, knowing where to begin can feel overwhelming. This column highlights volunteer and fundraising opportunities available along the Lakeshore. From providing food during the holidays through Community Action House’s new Food Club to getting your hands in the dirt pulling invasive plants at state parks, there’s something here for every big-hearted Michigander. Let’s take a look:

Agency: Community Action House
Cause: Access to healthy food
Timeframe: Ongoing


Community Action House is seeking volunteers to help power its new Food Club store at 739 Paw Paw Drive, Holland, including greeters, stockers, checkout “cashiers," food sorters, and more. Groups from employers or faith communities, families, individuals, and everyone from students to seniors are invited to help enhance the accessibility of healthy food.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit https://volunteer.communityactionhouse.org/

For information about the Food Club, visit www.hzfoodclub.org. Email: hello@communityactionhouse.org. Phone: 616-392-2368. 

Event: 15th Annual Bids & Bites Gala for the Children’s Advocacy Center
Where: The Pinnacle Center, 3330 Highland Drive, Hudsonville
When: 6:15-11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12


The 15th Annual Bids & Bites Gala will be at the Pinnacle Center on Friday, Nov. 12. Masks or vaccinations are not required to attend this fundraising auction. Organizers ask that anyone with symptoms associated with COVID-19 stay home to protect other attendees. For those who would feel more comfortable wearing a mask, masks will be provided at the venue.

For information: Contact the Children's Advocacy Center online or call 616-393-6123.

Agency: Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Events: State Park Volunteer Stewardship workshops
When: Saturday, Nov. 13, and Sunday, Nov. 21

Contact: Registration required. Register by emailing Emily Leslie at LeslieE1@michigan.gov  or calling 517-242-8760

Two upcoming volunteer events at local state parks are aimed at removing invasive shrubs that destroy native habitat.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park Volunteer Stewardship Workday
When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13
Where: Saugatuck Dunes State Park, 6575 138th Ave.
Details: Meet at the trailhead near the Felt Mansion


Help keep invasive shrubs out of the dunes by removing pesky Japanese barberry and other unwanted plants from the forest. Volunteers will learn to identify these unwanted shrubs and join in the effort to restore native forests by cutting and removing the invasive species. 


Hoffmaster State Park Volunteer Stewardship Workday
When: 10 a.m.-noon Sunday, Nov. 21
Where: Hoffmaster State Park, 6585 Lake Harbor Road, Muskegon
Details: Meet at the campground entrance

 
Volunteers will help remove invasive shrubs from the campground and the surrounding trails. The group will work on and off trail to find small invasive plant populations before they turn into a big problem.
 
A Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into Michigan state parks. To make a camping reservation, visit midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-447-2757.
 
For information: Additional information about both events is available via the DNR Volunteer Stewardship webpage. For more information about invasive species, visit michigan.gov/Invasives.
 
Please Note: Dates occasionally change and events may be canceled due to inclement weather and other reasons. Please call the event contact to confirm dates/times prior to your arrival.

Agency: Journey Home in Holland Heights
Event: Michigan Fosters Gift Wrapping Event
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4
Where: 832 E. Eighth St., Holland


Community members are invited to join in the gift-wrapping event at the new Journey Home in Holland Heights on Saturday, Dec. 4, part of Michigan Fosters’ season of giving. Michigan Fosters and Wellness Co., are working to lift holiday spirits of foster families through a new initiative, "Christmas Magic for Michigan Fosters." Tiffany Kraker, president of Michigan Fosters, says the initiative’s goal is to deliver family gifts to 15 foster families, or 10% of the licensed foster homes in Ottawa County. 

"We want to show foster families how thankful we are for their daily sacrifices with a gift at Christmastime," Kraker explains. "Between a child's grief of missing loved ones and mental health needs, the holiday season can be especially challenging for foster families."

Wellness Co. welcomes community members to drop off their donations of family board games, snow cone makers, s'mores makers, gift cards to local restaurants, and gift-wrapping supplies.  Donations are being accepted at Wellness Co., 400 S. State St., Suite 250, Zeeland.

For information:  https://www.facebook.com/michigan.fosters/. Kraker can be contacted by email at tiffany@michiganfosters.com, or by phone at 616-283-9490.
 
Agency: Harvest Stand Ministries
Event: Cram the Cruiser
When: Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11
Where: Family Fare, 9479 Riley St., Zeeland


Each month, more than 150 families come to Harvest Stand Ministries seeking food and clothing. The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department and Zeeland Police Department want to make sure these families don’t go hungry this year, so they are hosting Cram the Cruiser. 

On Saturday, Dec. 11, from noon-4 p.m., the Ottawa County Sheriff Department and Zeeland Police Department will be at the Family Fare in Zeeland, cramming their police cruisers with your donations. All food, clothing, and toy donations will directly help families through Harvest Stand Ministries. This year the goal is to raise over 5,000 pounds of food that will go to families in need.

Harvest Stand Ministries provides crisis support to Zeeland community members in need. It offers a food pantry, free clothing store, and resource connection assistance. It is at 100 S. Pine St, Suite 100, Zeeland. 

For information: call 616-748-6003, or email info@harveststand.org.

Read more articles by Kathleen Schenck.