5 local nonprofits to support as they face the holiday season

For many, the holidays are all about giving and supporting the local community as a unique way to give back to those who need help. 

In Michigan, there are nearly 60,000 nonprofits and over 40 in Macomb County. In spirit, here are some nonprofits in Macomb County to support this holiday season. 

Families Against Narcotics

“Having gatherings with families where there’s drinking involved and parties can be challenging,” says Dean Dauphinais, communications manager for Families Against Narcotics. “People and their substance abuse disorder issues do not take holidays so we don’t either.” 

FAMILIES AGAINST NARCOTICS: Volunteers from Christian Financial Credit Union putting together and donating 80 hygiene kits to the Hope Not Handcuffs program. Credit: Courtesy of Families Against Narcotics.Families Against Narcotics is based in Clinton Township and has over 20 chapters across the state. They offer resources and programs to those struggling with substance abuse and their families. One of the organization's programs, Hope Not Handcuffs, allows anyone who is struggling with addiction to go to a participating police station or community partner and receive help. Since the program began in 2017, they have helped over 11,000 people get treatment. 

The organization also distributes free Narcan, a nasal spray used to reverse an opioid drug overdose. In 2021, there were over 2,000 opioid overdose deaths in Michigan, accounting for 82% of all drug overdose deaths in the state.

It’s also hard for families with loved ones who are struggling with addiction, says Dauphinais. If people are planning to have someone who is struggling over the holidays, he recommends they have a smaller gathering to make it easier for them and the family. 

By volunteering and donating, the organization can continue to help those who need it for free, he says.

Macomb Foster Closet 

In Mt. Clemens, Macomb Foster Closet provides clothes and other essentials for children in foster homes and the families that serve them. The organization helps about 200,000 children a year. 

Kevin McAlpine, president of Macomb Foster Closet says there are about 13,000 children in foster care in Michigan. Often when children enter the foster care system, they have nothing except the clothes they’re wearing, he says. 

During the holidays, the organization donates Christmas stockings filled with essentials and toys for children of all ages. All of the items they give are donations from the community, he says. 
MACOMB FOSTER CLOSET: Volunteers donating items to foster kids and their families at the Macomb Foster Closet. Credit: Courtesy of Macomb Foster Closet. 
“Children come into care all year around, sometimes it can be a day or two before Christmas or even Christmas day itself,” McAlpine says. “They may come into care the week after Christmas and they never celebrated so we give them a Christmas.” 

Donations are the best way to support our mission, he says. The organization recently moved locations and is renovating a new building. Through their Forever Home Campaign, they can provide more items and resources.  

“When we open in our new building, we will be the largest foster closet providing direct services and items to kids in foster care in the country,” McAlpine says. 

Detroit Animal Welfare Group (DAWG) 

DAWG consists of 100 volunteers to help neglected, sick, and homeless animals. With 25 acres of land, they care for dogs, farm animals, and other wildlife. 

The group is based in Romeo, Michigan but helps animals across the Detroit area. This year, Michigan had more than 23,000 homeless cats and dogs and over 4,000 were euthanized. DAWG has a no-kill policy for all the animals they take in. 

DAWG provides vaccines, heartworm, and Feline leukemia tests, spayed or neutered, de-wormed and microchipped. They also receive behavioral or other types of medical care.

The organization also has animals up for adoption, from cats and dogs to pigs. A pet could make a great holiday gift for someone who loves animals. They also accept money or item donations

Clinton River Watershed Council 

For environmentalists out there looking for a way to protect their local waterways, Clinton River Watershed Council has been cleaning up the river since 1972. 

Development and Communications Specialist for the organization, Cole Pachucki says the team is focused on protecting, enhancing, and celebrating the watershed and Lake St. Clair. 

The watershed drains over 700 square miles, impacting five counties and over 1.5 million people, he says. He adds there are many unique uses of the watershed like farming. 

As we get towards the holiday season, there’s an end-of-the-year fundraiser and campaign, he says. There’s also a River Rally, a data presentation of updates on the watershed's health through macroinvertebrates, or aquatic bugs. 

“Certain bugs have different tolerances for pollution and water conditions,” he says. “By looking at which ones we have in sites throughout the watershed we can tell what state the river is currently in.” 

CLINTON RIVER WATERSHED COUNCIL: A volunteer taking samples out of the Clinton River Watershed for winter Stonefly research. Credit: Courtesy of Clinton River Watershed Council. 

The biggest threat to the river is stormwater, he says. When it rains or snows, water moves over impervious surfaces like concrete and picks up things like oil from cars. Planting native plants and trees will help collect and filter the water before entering the river. 

Winter factors like road salt can impact the river's native plants, he says. But by limiting road salt, that’s limiting the amount of salt in the watershed. 

Supporting the organization by following its social media is very impactful, Pachucki says. He adds, joining their mass email list and donating are other ways people can support them.  

“It’s great if people can share their time and talent with us by volunteering but some people can’t do that,” Pachuchki says. 

Turning Point 

A nonprofit serving Macomb County, Turning Point helps those who are survivors of domestic or sexual violence and sex trafficking. On average, the organization helps around 3,000 people a year. 

Sharman Davenport, CEO of Turning Point says this time of the year can be especially tough for those who are experiencing abuse. 

“If someone is going to try to leave a domestic violence situation, they’ll usually do it either before or after the holidays,” Davenport says. “But sometimes things become worse during the holidays due to stress or people are home more.”  

Turning Point offers free programs and services like their 24-hour hotline, counseling and forensic nursing or trained nurses to help those impacted by violence and abuse. 

TURNING POINT: Donors supporting Turning Point from Macomb Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Credit: Courtesy of Turning Point. 

They also own the Second Hand Rose Resale Shop, giving goods to survivors and selling items to community members. People can also donate items to the store. The items bought from the store support the organization's programs. 

When people invite the organization to talk at their schools or churches, that’s a way of supporting what we do, Davenport says. She adds, It’s also important if someone tells you they are struggling through domestic violence or sex trafficking, listen to that person and refer them to our hotline so they can safely prepare an escape plan and receive the help they need. 

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.