With Thanksgiving on the way and Christmas fast approaching, the holiday season is officially in full swing. It’s the best time of year to spend time with family, reflect, and share appreciation for each other. It’s also the best time of year to give back to our local communities.
For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of organizations where you can have a direct impact locally to benefit our fellow community members. Below, discover 10 ways to give back in Southwest Michigan this holiday season.
1. Greater Berrien County Toys for Tots
The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during the holiday season and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to children in need in local communities. Last year in 2020, 15,381 toys were distributed, supporting 3,417 children living in Berrien County.
This year , along with Martin’s in Stevensville, BOSS Services has partnered with Toys for Tots to be a Berrien County drop-off location at our Benton Harbor building on M-139 next to M&W Tire. We encourage you to donate brand new toys for local families who could use a little help making Christmas special for their kids this year.
You can drop off brand new toys at BOSS Services Monday, November 29th through Friday, December 3rd during business hours 8am-5pm. We also are inviting the public to join us and WNDU on Saturday, December 4th at 8:00am when toys are picked by the Marine Corps and witness the Berrien County Riders in action!
For more information or to make a cash donation visit their local website: https://berrien-mi.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx?nPageID=100&nPreviewInd=200&nRedirectInd=3
2. New Heights CCDA (Christian Community Development Association)
New Heights CCDA is a non-profit that originated in 2009 as a result of all the work First Church was already doing in the Benton Heights community through their Benton Heights Campus. New Heights strives to empower Benton Heights neighbors in order to make the area a better place to live. They aim to improve the quality of life for impoverished Berrien County residents by providing the following:
- New Heights Auto Services: They provide access to reliable transportation to financially constrained individuals who are trying to gain, maintain, or increase their employment. This work is funded by people in our community who pay New Heights auto technicians to maintain and repair their vehicle. New Heights has a full service garage open 8-5pm Monday through Friday on M-139 in St. Joseph next to Mark III . They also encourage people to donate cars, whether functioning or not, to be put to good use for community members in need of transportation.
- Community Food Network: Creates healthy communities by feeding individuals & families. It replaces handouts and charity with meaningful involvement and community. As a result, they help to maintain dignity and foster meaningful relationships in the Benton Heights area.
In 2022, New Heights plans to construct a new building in the heart of Benton Heights that will include a laundromat and host human and social services. These services include financial coaching, career services, and health consultations. This will be open to anyone who wants to access the New Heights services available. Currently New Heights needs to raise $70,000 to completely fund the project. Ground breaking at the community center, which hasn’t been named yet, will take place in Spring of 2022, with an estimated grand opening in 2023.
Visit their website to learn more and donate: https://newheightsccda.com/
3. Berrien County Cancer Service
Berrien County Cancer Service provides compassionate in-home skilled nursing care and supportive resources for those affected by cancer or related illnesses in Southwest Michigan.
They offer services such as nursing visits, nutritional supplements, wigs, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, incontinence items, ostomy supplies, and more at no charge to patients. It is a one of a kind service right here in Berrien County. According to their website, in 2019 alone they served 500 people in Berrien County and had a loan closet impact of $47,781.
In addition to skilled in-home nursing from experienced oncology nurses, Berrien Cancer Services also provides support groups to help individuals and their families struggling with the hardships or aftermath of a cancer diagnosis.
Visit their website to learn more and make a donation: https://bccancerservice.org/
4. Stevensville American Legion Post 568
American Legions all over the nation provide life-changing assistance and guidance for veterans, military personnel, and their families. They help by way of personal assistance,cash grants, donated goods, disaster relief, labor, networking, volunteerism and advocacy.
This cause is near and dear to our hearts as we are veteran-owned and take pride in hiring veterans. In fact, our owner and service manager (both retired Marines) are members of the Stevensville American Legion Post 568.
At the Stevensville American Legion, 100% of the monies raised are given back to the community. This allows them to sponsor scholarships for local children and give aid and assistance to local Veterans and their families in need. Additionally, this time of year the American Legion in Stevensville provides Christmas gifts to veterans at the Battle Creek Veterans Hospital.
Visit their website to learn more and make a donation: https://www.americanlegionpost568mi.org/
5. Berrien County Emergency Service Shelter
The Berrien County Emergency Service Shelter is the only family homeless shelter in Berrien County. Every night, they provide 28 beds to families across Berrien County, MI. At the shelter, families receive support to move into stable housing. Moreover, children get support from Montessori teachers to build their skills. In Berrien County, there are currently 1,353 people who are homeless, and 40-50% are children. It takes $25 per day to feed and house one individual so even a small donation can make a difference.
In addition to the Shelter, ESS provides: outreach to those living on the streets, assistance to help preserve current housing situations to avoid homelessness, temporary housing outside of the shelter, and short-term rental assistance along with other supportive services for those in need.
Visit their website to learn more and make a donation: https://www.essberrien.org/
6. Region IV Area Agency on Aging
Region IV Area Agency on Aging is a non-profit organization that provides supportive services and advocates on behalf of older and disabled persons. They enable seniors to maintain their independence and dignity through a system of in-home care and services such as meal delivery, home health services, respite for caregivers, and more. This allows our local elderly population to stay at home and with their families for as long as possible.
All funds donated go directly to local seniors for things they can’t afford that may not be covered by insurance or any program. With so many local seniors on a fixed income, the work done by Region IV Area Agency on Aging is important to this population in Berrien County.
Visit their website to learn more: https://areaagencyonaging.org/
7. Harbor Country Mission
Harbor Country Mission aids those who are experiencing and on the border of financial crisis. They partner with local agencies and Feeding America West Michigan to help feed families locally and also provide homeless outreach locally.
Every contribution counts. In fact, you don’t even have to donate cash to help Harbor Country Mission. They make it easy to give back just by donating things to their location on Red Arrow Highway in Sawyer. Your donations are re-purposed to families in need. If items aren’t needed at the moment, they sell them to stores or through online auction sites and use the revenue to fund valuable assistance to those in need.
Visit their website to learn more: https://harborcountrymission.org/
8. Humane Society of Southwest Michigan
The Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan provides shelter and care for sick, homeless, abused, and unwanted animals. With this mission in mind, they also provide adoption services for animals in their care to help them find their forever homes.
This past spring, they have had 65 cats and 44 dogs adopted into Southwest Michigan. You can do your part by reaching out to them to adopt a dog or cat if you have love to share with an animal in need. The Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan relies solely on private contributions. Your donations allow them to continue to rescue and find homes for the homeless cats and dogs in Southwest Michigan.
To learn more visit their website: https://humanesocietyswm.org/
9. Bridgman Cares
Bridgman Cares is a group of community members working together to provide for local students in need. Currently, Bridgman Cares is helping Bridgman families in need for the holidays. They are encouraging people to donate $40 towards a boxed meal or $25 towards a gift card to help make this holiday season special for local students.
They ask that you drop off cash or make checks payable to Bridgman Public Schools with Holiday in the memo. You can drop your donation off to any of the school offices-Bridgman Elementary, FC Reed Middle or Bridgman High School, by December 15, 2021. Any left over funds we collect will be used by Bridgman Cares to continue to help students in need. Their goal is to raise $3,000 to help as many families as possible in the Bridgman area over the holidays!
Visit their Facebook page to learn more!: https://www.facebook.com/BridgmanCares/
10. St. Joseph Lincoln Senior Center
The St. Joseph Lincoln Senior Center helps to enhance independence and the well-being of local seniors by providing them with a safe, friendly & positive social, education & recreational services. They offer weekly programs like fitness classes, cards and games, pickleball, crafts, and a computer lab. They even have a Circuit Training Room for seniors to use at their leisure. Health and vibrancy for seniors is important to the St. Joseph Lincoln Senior Center, offering health and wellness programs and a variety of educational programs every month.
In addition to these services, they offer transportation to members within their service area along with a monthly commodity program, loan closet, large lending library, Foot Clinics and a daily lunch provided by Senior Nutrition Services. Your donations help fund these services and programs that mean so much to keep seniors thriving in our community.
Learn more here: https://sjlsc.org/
One Last Way to Give Back in Southwest Michigan this Holiday Season…
At BOSS, we give away a fully installed American Standard furnace to someone in need of heat every year. This year we are giving away two American Standard furnaces to two deserving people in Southwest Michigan and Greater Grand Rapids.
You nominate someone special in your life to win one of these brand new furnaces by visiting our webpage by December 12th: https://thebossservices.com/heartwarming-holiday-giveaway/
We want to encourage others to pay it forward to someone special in their life who truly deserves to win a new furnace this year. So make sure you elaborate on why you feel your nominee truly deserves to win a new furnace.
Every Little Bit Counts…
Whether you give money to one of the causes above, volunteer your time, or donate something else, we hope you consider giving back locally if you can in some way this holiday season. Every little bit counts to help make a difference for our friends and neighbors in Southwest Michigan.
Happy Holidays from all of us at BOSS Services!