Christmas is the time of year to give to those who are less fortunate. The Greater Flint community is especially generous and always willing to lend a helping hand. This year, the need is greater than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ways to give are a little different. Following is a list of some organizations that help the needy and how you can assist them.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flint & Genesee County
1176 Robert T. Longway, Flint ♦ 810.235.0617
Each year, community members volunteer to purchase Christmas gifts for needy families. “We provide the donor with information including the number of children in the family, their ages, gender and clothing sizes,” reports Reta Stanley, President/CEO of the nonprofit organization. To date, BBBS has four individuals and/or organizations who will be contributing gifts to a family this year. Provide gifts to one child or an entire family – you can select and wrap them or BBBS will do it for you. BBBS has ordered 100 18-inch red holiday stockings and needs stocking-stuffers! To donate, call 810.235.0617. “We are grateful for the support of a caring community,” Stanley adds.
Flint Elks Lodge 222
7177 E. Maple Rd., Flint ♦ 810.743-0470
On Christmas Eve, Elks members prepare the Ed Solomon Giving Feast, a delicious meal for needy families. “We get a list of families from Catholic Charities, Salvation Army and other groups,” says Elks member, Mike Lee. Redwood Steakhouse Chef, Luis Fernandez, helps procure food donations. According to Lee, about 80 Elks members and their families will gather to prepare, box and deliver the meals, following COVID-19 protocols. Families receive a meal of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, roll and dessert. The goal is to deliver 600 meals this year. To make a monetary donation, make checks payable to Flint Elks Lodge 222. “Donations are always appreciated,” Lee adds.
Whaley Children’s Center
1201 N. Grand Traverse St., Flint ♦ 810.234.3603
During the Christmas season, there are a variety of ways to give to Whaley children. You can do a toy drive, host a party, donate gift cards or sponsor a child. To sponsor a child, email CPace@WhaleyChildren.org or call 810.234.3603.
You can make a monetary or Wish List donation at one of three locations:
Catholic Charities of Genesee County
901 Chippewa St., Flint
Catholic Charities of Shiawassee County
120 W. Exchange St., Ste. 300, Owosso
Restoring Hope Capital Campaign
517 East Fifth Ave., Flint
Catholic Charities has registered over 1,000 children for their annual Adopt an Angel, Christmas Angel Tag program. The kids were registered in October and many churches, businesses and families took the tags and are shopping for gifts. On December 14-16, all of the wrapped gifts will go to the North End Soup Kitchen to be distributed to the registered families on December 17-18. For those who may have missed the registration, the organization also will have a Christmas Day celebration where new gifts are distributed to everyone who arrives. Catholic Charities has been doing these programs for 38 years.
The Center for Hope is accepting donations of new, unwrapped children’s toys that will be distributed at the Center. They are also always in need of men’s winter gloves, hand lotion and Chapstick.
North End Soup Kitchen/South Flint Soup Kitchen
Catholic Charities will continue to serve hot meals at both of the soup kitchens the entire month of December. “On Christmas Day, we will also be giving away new toys to every child who visits the soup kitchens and adult care packets to the clients at the Center for Hope and North End Soup Kitchen,” states Community Service Director, John Mense. Adults will receive a bath towel rolled up with goodies inside such as new socks and personal care items.
Donations of new toys, older kids’ toys, bath towels and socks are appreciated for their Christmas Day celebration.
“Volunteers are welcome to help on Christmas Day or other days, if they wish,” adds Mense. Individuals, groups and families can schedule volunteer time – call 810.785.6911.
Carriage Town Ministries
605 Garland St., Flint ♦ 810.233.8787
CTM has been serving the needy since 1950 and operates on the generous donations of the community. In order to best meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness, CTM has created an Amazon Wish List. Items can be purchased directly from the list at smile.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/23DDRR0SIESE5/ref=cm_wl_huc_view.
Donations of the following necessary items may also be dropped off at the main building between 8:30am-7pm:
- Scrubs for men and women (new or used)
- Men’s and women’s coats (new or gently used, size Large, XL, 2XL)
- Personal care (full size)
- Pillows (new) and pillow cases
- Hats, scarves, warm gloves for men, women & children
“Thank you so very much for partnering with us to meet the critical needs of neighbors in a desperate situation,” says Cindy Johns, Director of Community Engagement. “Your gift provides HOPE – something we are all in need of these days!”
Old Newsboys of Flint
6255 Taylor Dr., Flint ♦ 810.744.1840
The Old Newsboys have brightened Christmas mornings for thousands of needy children across Genesee County. The nonprofit organization, which has been under the direction of Tony Tucker since March of this year, is best known for its Christmas Box Program. “The need is even greater this year,” states Lisa Kirk, ONB Director of Programs and Volunteers. Children who are low-income or suffer from special circumstances qualify for the program. “We are prepared to help over 6,000 kids this year,” she adds. And due to the pandemic, signing up to receive assistance is a little different. “We have moved to an online system this year,” Kirk reports. Once a child qualifies, he or she receives a sweat suit, socks and underclothes, a hat and pair of warm gloves, dental hygiene products and a beautiful, new, age-appropriate gift.
You can also help by sponsoring a child in the Christmas Box Program. Every $20 donation will sponsor one child – visit onbflint.org/sponsor-child.php.
According to Lisa Kirk, in-kind donations are also accepted: board games, socks and underwear, hats and gloves, coloring books and crayons, backpacks and new toys. ONB also has a Coat Program for kids, grades K-8. Monetary donations are greatly appreciated. “Since many of our events have been canceled due to the pandemic, we are looking to the community to help as much as they can. Their support is greatly appreciated.”
More Organizations to Help
Food Bank of Eastern Michigan
2300 Lapeer Rd., Flint
Greater Flint Outreach Center
1114 University Ave., Flint
The Salvation Army Flint Citadel Corps
211 W. Kearsley St., Flint
Shelter of Flint, Inc.
924 Cedar St., Flint
Toys for Tots Genesee County
4425 S. Saginaw St., Flint
United Outreach Ministries
1249 Roosevelt Ave., Flint
United Way of Genesee County
111 E. Court St., Flint
Volunteers of America
1135 N. Belsay Rd., Burton