Are You Looking for Ways to Volunteer with Kids in West Michigan?

What better way is there to spend time together as a family than to volunteer together?

My husband and I first got involved with volunteering when we began serving in the children’s ministry at our church. Our son was only 1 year old at the time. At 6 years old now, he finds pure joy out of serving and helping others.

Volunteering with your children is a great way to teach them about giving while instilling skills and values to last a lifetime. Children will develop empathy and see that the world doesn’t actually revolve around them,  which can be a tough concept to learn for many kids.

Our extensive list of volunteering opportunities has something for each West Michigan family. Take a look and browse through the categories below, keeping in mind your child’s interests and age.

If you are unable to find something from the list below, visit United Way’s online Volunteer Center or Volunteer Match to find additional opportunities. You can also visit your local retirement community, church or school for additional West Michigan volunteer opportunities for kids.

The Giant List of Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering and giving back to the community is our wheelhouse, Grand Rapids. Pick a spot or two from this list and watch as your children grow into more thoughtful, caring people.

Volunteer in Grand Rapids –  All Ages

Access of West Michiganall ages welcome

HELP FROM HOME:

  • Donate a Community Supported Agriculture food share. For more information, visit thepantry.gr/donate.
  • Host your own community food drive to collect nutritious food donations. View drop-off locations by clicking here.
  • Donate items for the upcoming Holiday Giving Network (holiday food and toys) to your local food pantry. Learn more here.

Adopt A Forest  – all ages

The program encourages volunteers–the program’s backbone–to clean up existing trash and to function as an “army” of educators. Adopt-a-Forest enjoys a large network of volunteers throughout the state. Participating group affiliations range from Cub Scouts to Homeowner Associations to Hunt Clubs. Individuals and many families participate in the program as well. Forest cleanups are often multi-generational activities with ages ranging from pre-school to retirees. In the end, public land cleanups offer something for everyone.

Family Futures – all ages

There are a wide-range of volunteer opportunities available at Family Futures. If none fit your skills or interests, contact them and they can work together to develop an opportunity. Note that volunteers are free to set their own schedule or volunteer during normal business hours (M-F, 8:30 AM – 5: PM). Occasional weekend and evening hours are also available. There are often even projects that you can take home.

MAILING SUPPORT (2 to 6 hours/week): Come in on your own or with your family/friends/coworkers and help with a weekly mailing, providing important developmental information to local families.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parksall ages, when supervised by an adult volunteer

Many seasonal opportunities with their tree planting program. Check out their events here for a list of upcoming opportunities.

In the Image – all ages, children under 13 years of age must have a parent present to participate as a volunteer.

SHOES:

  • Host a “Fill a Shoe Box” Drive – they provide the Shoe Box, your school, company, church, or neighborhood fill it with spare change, checks, or cash to help purchase new shoes for Shoes Help Our Elementary Students!Host a Sock Drive
  • Host a School Supplies and New Books Drive
  • Volunteer at events or schools to promote SHOES
  • Help find a manufacturer or distributor to help with the purchase of 6,000 pairs of shoes and continue to grow the program!

FREE STORE:

  • Sorting, hanging and stocking
  • Host a Furniture Drive and clean all furniture
  • Host a Clothing Drive – new and gently-used clothing
  • Update Signage and Resource Area in Free Store

FACILITIES:

  • Assist with building maintenance and repairs, painting, etc.

BASIC NEEDS:​

We look to provide a great shopping experience, just like any other store – but we need help finding the basic items and having them stocked for emergency situations. Please consider serving in Brian’s Basic Needs Room:

ICCF (Inner City Christian Federation) – All ages are welcome to come with an adult.

CHILDCARE ROOM CLEANING: Inner City Christian Federation offers financial management and home ownership classes to clients throughout the year. We don’t want a lack of childcare to be a barrier for those seeking our services, so whenever we offer classes, we also offer free childcare to the kids of parents taking these classes.

We need volunteers to assist with monthly deep-cleaning of our childcare room. This includes doing things like disinfecting toys, organizing and categorizing toys and games, and wiping down shelves and furniture. Volunteers help out one time or can volunteer on a monthly basis.

HELP FROM HOME: Collect item(s) from their wish list.

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT (JA of the Michigan Great Lakes) – Starting atK-5

JA of the Michigan Great Lakes’ volunteer-delivered, kindergarten-12th grade programs teach kids money management skills, foster work-readiness, and give them an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship. JA programs use experiential learning to inspire students in our community to dream big and reach their potential.

JA helps students realize that the education they are getting today will help them to have a bright future tomorrow. JA’s unique, volunteer delivered programs, show them all of the possibilities that lay before them. They realize they can choose different paths; College? A specific trade? Start their own business? Through your participation as an organization or as an individual, you can begin to change in our community:

To learn more please visit their website: https://www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-mgl/home

Or to volunteer contact Amanda Hentsch, [email protected]

Kent County Parks Departmentall ages, when supervised by an adult volunteer

The Kent County Parks Department Volunteer Services Program offer many outdoor projects that are great for volunteers of all ages, including trail clean ups, Native Seed harvesting, Garlic Mustard plant pulls, and more! Since volunteer project types change continually throughout the season and are based on current needs, sign up to receive notifications of upcoming project days and nature events, by contacting [email protected] or 616-632-7842

Mel Trotter Ministries – all ages for some activities, 14 and up for other activities

KITCHEN HELP: Children age 14 and up may volunteer in the Kitchen.

KIDS KORNER: Children (accompanied by an approved parent or guardian) may volunteer in Kids Korner.

JENISON & SPARTA STORES: Children of all ages, accompanied by an adult, are welcome to volunteer at the Jenison & Sparta stores.

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items to fill a need.

United Way – multiple volunteer opportunities. Use their volunteer finder to discover a good fit for you. All ages.

White Pine Trail all ages

Volunteers can adopt a section of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail. These sections are typically one mile in length, between the existing mile markers.

The adoption of these sections means that you will do some light maintenance such as:

  • Trimming of vegetation
  • Litter removal
  • Sign maintenance
  • Culvert inspection – keep them clear
  • Report major problems to us so we can give it the necessary attention

Women at Risk all ages, when accompanied by an adult

Join our community of WARriors at our headquarters or events in your area. In our comfortable, on-site volunteer center, you can prepare donations, tag products, organize inventory, or even become a volunteer staff member! Families, children, and large groups are always welcome. Our team of volunteers makes it possible to continue our mission of rescue, restoration, and empowerment!

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items for their wishlist.

Elementary Kids and Older Volunteer Opportunities

Feeding America West Michiganages 7 and up

WAREHOUSE: We pick up and receive truckloads of food donations daily. Some of the food is in need of a little extra TLC before it can be distributed to area charity organizations. Volunteers help sort, label, or repack a variety of product. For example, we might have 800 pound bulk boxes of cereal that needs to be repacked into family size portions. Generally, volunteer shifts are 3 hours long, either 9 AM – 12 PM or 1 PM – 4 PM. All volunteers must wear closed toe, closed heel shoes.

IN THE FIELDS: Gleaning is when we go directly to the farms to pick product that goes to people in our community that need it most. This is a late notice volunteer opportunity with a couple of days notice. All volunteers are given information on where to meet and what will be picked!

Kids Food Basketages 5 and up

SACK SUPPER PREP: Prepare fruits and veggies into serving sizes, make and bag trail mix, make sandwiches, or break down boxes of pudding, granola bars, etc. The possibilities are endless! This shift helps prepare any and all food that goes into our Sack Suppers.

SACK SUPPER PACKING: Help assemble the Sack Supper! In each one you will see a protein, fresh fruit, fresh veggie and healthy snack. This is put together using an assembly line system.

HELP FROM HOME: We need your help, and not always at our facility. Here are a few off-site projects:

  • Supper Packs: Supper Packs represent the non-perishable items that are put into each Sack Supper. In addition to a Supper Pack, a fresh fruit, vegetable, and protein source are included in each Sack Supper at Kids’ Food Basket. This is an easy project for groups of all ages and you can make any quantity you like!
  • Trail Mix: We have a recipe for some of the best trail mix in West Michigan! This is a great project for a large group. Your group will collect the ingredients, mix them, and then go to work scooping individual portions for Sack Suppers. A great project for all ages! Please Note: All trail mix MUST be assembled in a facility licensed for food preparation. Please contact us with any questions.
  • Decorate Sack Supper Bags: Not only do Sack Suppers provide a well-rounded nutritious meal critical to the development of the brain and body, they also help brighten each child’s day! Each sack is decorated with positive messages, holiday themes or cheerful illustrations. If you are looking for a creative volunteer opportunity, especially for kids, this could be a great fit!

Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary  – ages 8 and up

Kids that are eight or older can come to the sanctuary with a parent or guardian and help to pet, train, or brush dogs. All family members wanting to volunteer should fill out the volunteer application and will attend orientation and training.

HELP FROM HOME: Kids of any age can help the Mackenzie’s Dogs! Here are some ideas on how kids can help.

  • Hold a pet drive in your classroom to collect treats, toys and other items needed at the sanctuary.
  • Hold a “Pennies for Pets” fund drive. Collect spare change throughout the school year and donate it to the sanctuary at the end of the year. You will be surprised how it adds up!
  • Learn about spaying and neutering and how it saves lives. Then tell everyone you know about how they can do their part.
  • Throw an animal party. Instead of bringing gifts to the party, your guests can bring “presents” for the animals. You could even schedule a tour of the sanctuary as part of your party and bring the gifts for the dogs.
  • Hold a car wash, bake sale, or pop can drive and donate the proceeds to the animals.
  • Organize a pet club to support homeless dogs.
  • Hold a poster contest at your school to increase awareness about pet overpopulation and to encourage people to adopt pets from area sanctuaries and shelters.
  • Live by example. Always treat animals with respect.
  • Share pictures or stories of Mackenzie’s adoptable dogs on your Facebook or social media, with permission from your parent.
  • Ask your teacher to have us bring a dog to your class for a visit to talk about how to treat animals.
  • Make home-made treats and bring them to the sanctuary for the dogs to eat.

Collect items for their doggie Wish List.

Volunteering Opportunities for Middle School Kids and Older

Adopt A Highway – ages 12 to 17 years old with adult supervision (at the rate of 1 adult/3 children)

Participants are asked to pick up litter three times a year from the highway roadsides in their designated area. Just about any group of at least three people can participate.

Calvin College Eco Preserveages 12 to 17

Junior Camp Crew

If you enjoy working with younger children, like to be creative, and want to enrich your leadership skills, the Junior Camp Crew may be for you. These volunteers assist our younger campers, and prepare crafts and snacks. Junior Camp Crew members will choose one week from Wetlands & Woodlands camp sessions 1 through 5 which take place in June and July in which to volunteer. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis starting on March 1st each year.

Catholic Charities West Michigan ages 13 and up

GOD’S KITCHEN: Preparing, serving, cleaning a lunch meal daily 11 AM – 3 PM. (ALL DAYS are in need of additional assistance!)

FOOD PANTRY (MUSKEGON):  Tuesday, Thursday and/or Fridays from 9:30 AM-12 PM. We are in need of additional volunteer shoppers to assist guests as they make selections from our food pantry, assist with administrative tasks, and greet incoming clients to the pantry.

HELP FROM HOME: Host a Bowl Painting Party. We are in need of volunteers to paint bowls that are given to guests at our benefit events that support God’s Kitchen Food and Pantry Programming. We provide all materials (brushes, paints, bowls, etc). This is our most flexible opportunity – do it on your own time! Bowl painting can take place in our facility, or at a location of your choice – you’d just have to pick up the kit from our location.

Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding – ages 12 and up

Have a passion for horses? Volunteers who are at least 12 may help in the barn when accompanied by a parent until they are able to demonstrate the willingness and ability to follow directions effectively. Volunteers 14 years and up have the potential to work in the riding arena.

Service projects are also available throughout the year.

Gilda’s ClubVolunteers under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Gilda’s Club has a lot for kids to do, including:

  • Garden and Grounds: planting, weeding, raking, spreading mulch, and sweeping.
  • Clubhouse Cleaning: A continual need, includes dusting, window washing, sanitizing of surfaces, vacuuming and mopping, and polishing furniture.
  • Supper Together: Volunteers are responsible for setting up, preparing, serving and cleaning up meals for members (a typical shift runs from 4 PM – 7 PM). You can choose to donate your own ingredients or use food provided to Gilda’s Club.
  • Volunteer at special events.

HELP FROM HOME

  • Collect wish list items
  • Baking & Desserts: You may choose to bake cookies, cakes, cupcakes or brownies to provide along with our weekly meals. Bake at home or schedule a time to come and bake in the kitchen at Gilda’s.
  • Making Cards for Members: We send out many cards every day to our members and their families for a variety of reasons (thank you, sympathy, thinking of you, get well). You may schedule a time to come in and use the many supplies available in our craft room or make the cards on your own.

Grand Rapids Public Library – ages 11  – 18

TEENS STEP UP: Teen volunteers help with a variety of projects, including signing kids up for summer reading, helping with library events, and advising staff on what types of materials and programs their peers would be interested in. There is even a flash mob they can participate in.

Volunteering Opportunities for High School Kids

ArtPrize (through GRAM)  16 Years of age, 14 years old if working with a parent/guardian

Volunteers, through GRAM, help many ways during ArtPrize! We could never hold this event without them.

  • Guest Services (greeting/assisting/directing guests, and helping with item check – available all days of ArtPrize).
  • Voter Registration. Simple data entry skills are needed.
  • Elevator Attendant. Greeting and running the passenger elevator for guests to ensure it runs smoothly.
  • Member Terrace. Greeting and helping members check in through the Member Terrace outside.
  • Group Tour Greeter. Greeting group tours as they arrive, giving a brief introduction to the GRAM.

All shifts will take place at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

Degage Ministries

GENERAL OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Host an activity such as Bingo, Family Feud, Card Tournament, Game Night, Special Snack and more in their dining room.
  • Help sort and organize donations.
  • Create decorations for holidays and schedule a time to come and decorate.

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items for their wishlist.

Flat River Outreach Ministries – ages 14 and up with adult supervision

Flat River Outreach Ministries loves to have parents and kids volunteer together. Some of the volunteer opportunities include:

  • Sorting and pricing Treasures Thrift Shop items
  • Stocking, organizing, and staffing the Food Pantry
  • Helping in the office
  • Stuffing envelopes, sending out mailers
  • Planning or facilitating events and activities
  • Coaching people on their goals
  • Teaching classes, such as financial management and basic computer skills
  • Keeping the buildings and grounds clean
  • Giving IT assistance

HELP FROM HOME: Collect food, paper products or health/beauty items for their food pantry. Collect clothing for their thrift shop. Collect new toys and books/educational items for their Christmas distribution. Collect new backpacks and school supplies for their backpack distribution in August.

Grand Rapids Art Museum16 Years of age, some opportunities available for children 14 years old if working with a parent/guardian

COMMUNICATION AND PR: Work with GRAM’s staff from that department. Duties may include data entry, distributing Communications/PR materials or other general office duties. 16 Years of age, 14 years old if working with a parent.

FACILITIES: Assisting with various building projects around GRAM. Some volunteers help maintain the outdoor flower and plants, some work with Facilities staff for set-up on various projects as needed throughout the year. 16 years of age.

FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS: Help GRAM during Festival of the Arts in the first weekend of June of each year. Based on your shift, you will work with the Guest Services desk in the Lobby, children’s art-making activities, and with Festival’s Student Art Show that GRAM hosts. 16 Years of age, 14 years old if working with a parent.

GRAMBASSADOR: This Guest Services volunteer will maintain a presence in the galleries, greeting and assisting guests, helping to enrich the guests gallery experience. 16 Years of age, 14 years old if working with a parent.

GOSITE: The location of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, at the heart of downtown with the beautiful urban park Ecliptic at Rosa Parks Circle by the renowned artist Maya Lin at its doorstep, provides the opportunity to truly fulfill GRAMs mission of being a welcome and inclusive gathering space. 16 Years of age, 14 years old if working with a parent.

GUEST SERVICES: Assisting the Guest Service staff. Duties may include greeting guests, handing out attendance stickers, and assisting with item check. 16 Years of age, 14 years old if working with a parent.

LIBRARY: Assisting visitors with finding books and research materials. Volunteers will also assist library staff with the organizational needs of the library such as shelving books and cataloging. 16 years of age.

MUSEUM STORE: Museum Store volunteers provide friendly, competent assistance to store customers. They help maintain and create merchandise displays as well as refill inventory levels on the floor and maintain back stock. 16 years of age.

SPECIAL EVENTS: Events volunteers will help during special events (exhibition openings, member events, special programs, Festival, ArtPrize). Duties include checking in visitors, handing out nametags, helping with coat check, handing out programs, and answering general visitor questions. 16 Years of age, 14 years old if working with a parent.

YOUTH AND FAMILY EVENTS: The Family and Youth Programs Volunteer may engage family and youth visitors with a number of activities including gallery activities, and art-making workshops. Volunteers may also assist with visitor way-finding questions and respond to inquiries about visual art or the current exhibition. 16 Years of age, 14 years old if working with a parent.

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum – ages 14 and up

Youth Volunteers typically spend their time interacting directly with museum visitors.

Grand Rapids Public Museumteens

DISCOVERY GUIDES: Volunteers will have the opportunity to engage with our visitors through exhibit interpretation, hands on activities through the use of the discovery carts and assisting visitors as they experience exhibitions. Ages 12 and up.

EVENT SPECIALIST: Volunteers have the opportunity to assist in the museum’s special events that can include, but are not limited to: scout programs, overnights, evening events and more. The roles will vary based on the event, and in the end though, will create the ultimate experience to our guests. Ages 16-17.

SCIENCE TUESDAYS: We are looking for volunteers that would be interested in assisting with presenting artifacts to the general public. There will be multiple science stations set up at the Museum and volunteers will help interpret and guide the public through the meaning and origin of the artifacts. No prior knowledge is necessary as all stations will have instructions but an interest in science and interacting with the public is a benefit. Ages 16-17.

Grand Rapids Symphony – 15 years and up, 13 years and up if with an adult family member 

PICNIC POPS: The D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops summer concerts offer the best opportunities for family volunteering. Teens age 13 years to 15 may volunteer with an adult family member. Children age 15 years and up may volunteer on their own. Volunteering in the Family Fun Area (with face painting, crafts and an Instrument Petting Zoo) has been the best fit for families who wish to be in the same location. Other families are comfortable with splitting between various assignments while at Picnic Pops (i.e. Family Fun Area, Ticket Taker, Program Book Attendant, etc.).

Habitat for Humanity Kent County ages 14 and up

Teens age 14 and up may volunteer on-site with Habitat for Humanity projects.

  • Youth aged 14-16 are allowed to participate in landscaping and painting projects.
  • Those 16 and over are allowed on most construction sites, except for deconstruction activities but cannot use power tools or get on a ladder over six feet tall.

HELP FROM HOME: While youth under 14 cannot volunteer on site, Habitat Kent offers a variety of ways for these youth to get involved:

  • ReStore Drive – Help fill our ReStores through a community drive
  • Caring Kids – Fundraise to help build a child’s bed room; items range from a doorknob to carpeting
  • Tool-a-Thon – Help raise tools for Habitat at a local hardware store
  • Cookie Club – Help say thanks to our volunteers by making snacks or lunches
  • Assembling Kits for Kids – Make cookie or pizza kits to help kids feel at home when they move in
  • Volunteer Appreciation Items – Help us appreciate our regular volunteers by making fun seasonal gifts. Great for big groups!
  • Volunteering Options! Partner Family Scrapbook – Help create a scrapbook of photos commemorating different steps in the homeownership process
  • Hands-On Building – Practice building skills and provide families with personalized home accessories, or use your projects as a fund-raising resource.

John Ball Zoo – 9th through 12th graders

COUNSELOR IN TRAINING: CIT’s choose which Summer Zoo Camp sessions and classes they would like to assist with before summer starts. CIT’s assist camp staff with all class activities including; zoo tours, art projects, story time, adventure hikes and games! We ask that you commit to at least 4 camp sessions.

ZOO TEENS:  Zoo Teens focus on in-zoo visitor interactions, teaching youth, assisting keepers and team building. Zoo Teens begin their volunteer career by assisting in camp as well as visitor interactions at exhibits and discover carts. As teens become accomplished at each skill level they are given more responsibility. All teens will work on public speaking, conservation project development, leadership skills and increasing their animal knowledge. This program requires teens to commit to one day each week (the same day each week), 8:30-4:00, for the 10 week program, 1 weekend day in each of June, July and August and assist with one camp session.

HELP FROM HOME: Collect enrichment items from their wish list.

Michigan Blood ages 16 and up

Volunteer opportunities available may include:

  • Greeting donors
  • Monitoring donor rest/serving refreshments
  • Technical support (prepare blood bags)
  • Clerical support
  • Donate blood (for those weighing 110 pounds or more, with parental consent)

Revive & Thrive – Grand Rapidsages 14 -19

The Revive & Thrive Project provides teens with the opportunity to work under adult mentor chefs to learn how to prep, cook, and package meals for people fighting and recovering from severe illnesses.

Contact Laurie  if your teen, school, or organization would like to lend a hand in providing essential meals to those in need.

The Salvation Army – Kent County – ages 16 and up

RED KETTLE CAMPAIGN: The Salvation Army is in need of volunteers between November and December to help ring bells at one of several locations in the Kent County area to raise funds for our Red Kettle Campaign. The proceeds that are raised during this Kettle Campaign are used to fund local programs throughout the year. It is a wonderful opportunity to teach children about philanthropy, and can show them how just a little change can make a big difference.

KROC CENTER SWIM INSTRUCTOR: If you are a Red Cross Water Safety Instruction candidate looking for volunteer hours to obtain your certification, we can assist you with that. Volunteer opportunities are ongoing and can be set up individually with the Aquatic Manager. Various ages, levels, days and times are available.

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items to donate

Volunteering Opportunities From Home

Access of West Michigan 

HELP FROM HOME:
  • Donate a Community Supported Agriculture food share. For more information, visit thepantry.gr/donate.
  • Host your own community food drive to collect nutritious food donations. View drop-off locations by clicking here
  • Donate items for the upcoming Holiday Giving Network (holiday food and toys) to your local food pantry. Learn more here.

Blandford Nature Center 

HELP FROM HOME: Donate an item from their wish list

Catholic Charities West Michigan 

HELP FROM HOME: Host a Bowl Painting Party. We are in need of volunteers to paint bowls that are given to guests at our benefit events that support God’s Kitchen Food and Pantry Programming. We provide all materials (brushes, paints, bowls, etc). This is our most flexible opportunity – do it on your own time! Bowl painting can take place in our facility, or at a location of your choice – you’d just have to pick up the kit from our location.

Degage Ministries

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items for their wishlist.

Family Promise of Grand Rapids

The goal of the Kids Care Program is to educate and engage children and youth around the issues of child and family homelessness. A staff member at Family Promise would love to come to your classroom, youth group, Sunday school classroom, girl/boy scout troop, or sports team to discuss the realities of child and family homelessness in Grand Rapids. During our time together, students will experience an age-appropriate presentation to help them understand the realities of child homelessness, take part in a poverty simulation, and then participate in a fun service activity to help homeless kids in the Grand Rapids community. Presentations can range from 15 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on need.

  • Your Change Can Change Homelessness: Organize a change drive (we have great ideas for this!)
  • Kids Reading for Kids: Do a reading pledge and donate the money raised to help homeless kids
  • Summer Buckets: Sand buckets filled with summer toys for families that exit shelter into housing
  • Buckets of Love: A mop bucket or dish pan filled with cleaning supplies
  • Birthday Bags: Put together birthday gifts to distribute to kids when we have a birthday
  • Collect items from their wish list.

Flat River Outreach Ministries

HELP FROM HOME: Collect food, paper products or health/beauty items for their food pantry. Collect clothing for their thrift shop. Collect new toys and books/educational items for their Christmas distribution. Collect new backpacks and school supplies for their backpack distribution in August.

Gilda’s Club

HELP FROM HOME

  • Collect wish list items
  • Baking & Desserts: You may choose to bake cookies, cakes, cupcakes or brownies to provide along with our weekly meals. Bake at home or schedule a time to come and bake in the kitchen at Gilda’s.
  • Making Cards for Members: We send out many cards every day to our members and their families for a variety of reasons (thank you, sympathy, thinking of you, get well). You may schedule a time to come in and use the many supplies available in our craft room or make the cards on your own.

Guiding Light Mission

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items found here that the mission is in need of the most.

Habitat for Humanity Kent County

HELP FROM HOME: While youth under 14 cannot volunteer on site, Habitat Kent offers a variety of ways for these youth to get involved:

  • ReStore Drive – Help fill our ReStores through a community drive
  • Caring Kids – Fundraise to help build a child’s bed room; items range from a doorknob to carpeting
  • Tool-a-Thon – Help raise tools for Habitat at a local hardware store
  • Cookie Club – Help say thanks to our volunteers by making snacks or lunches
  • Assembling Kits for Kids – Make cookie or pizza kits to help kids feel at home when they move in
  • Volunteer Appreciation Items – Help us appreciate our regular volunteers by making fun seasonal gifts. Great for big groups!
  • Volunteering Options! Partner Family Scrapbook – Help create a scrapbook of photos commemorating different steps in the homeownership process
  • Hands-On Building – Practice building skills and provide families with personalized home accessories, or use your projects as a fund-raising resource.

ICCF (Inner City Christian Federation) 

HELP FROM HOME: Collect item(s) from their needs list.

Indian Trails Camp

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items for their wish list.

In the Image

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items from their project wish list.

John Ball Zoo

HELP FROM HOME: Collect enrichment items from their wish list.

Kids Food Basket

HELP FROM HOME: We need your help, and not always at our facility. Here are a few off-site projects:
  • Supper Packs: Supper Packs represent the non-perishable items that are put into each Sack Supper.  In addition to a Supper Pack, a fresh fruit, vegetable, and protein source are included in each Sack Supper at Kids’ Food Basket. This is an easy project for groups of all ages and you can make any quantity you like!
  • Trail Mix: We have a recipe for some of the best trail mix in West Michigan! This is a great project for a large group. Your group will collect the ingredients, mix them, and then go to work scooping individual portions for Sack Suppers. A great project for all ages! Please Note: All trail mix MUST be assembled in a facility licensed for food preparation. Please contact us with any questions.
  • Decorate Sack Supper Bags: Not only do Sack Suppers provide a well-rounded nutritious meal critical to the development of the brain and body, they also help brighten each child’s day! Each sack is decorated with positive messages, holiday themes or cheerful illustrations. If you are looking for a creative volunteer opportunity, especially for kids, this could be a great fit!

Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary 

HELP FROM HOME: Kids of any age can help the Mackenzie’s Dogs! Here are some ideas on how kids can help.

  • Hold a pet drive in your classroom to collect treats, toys and other items needed at the sanctuary.
  • Hold a “Pennies for Pets” fund drive. Collect spare change throughout the school year and donate it to the sanctuary at the end of the year. You will be surprised how it adds up!
  • Learn about spaying and neutering and how it saves lives. Then tell everyone you know about how they can do their part.
  • Throw an animal party. Instead of bringing gifts to the party, your guests can bring “presents” for the animals. You could even schedule a tour of the sanctuary as part of your party and bring the gifts for the dogs.
  • Hold a car wash, bake sale, or pop can drive and donate the proceeds to the animals.
  • Organize a pet club to support homeless dogs.
  • Hold a poster contest at your school to increase awareness about pet overpopulation and to encourage people to adopt pets from area sanctuaries and shelters.
  • Live by example. Always treat animals with respect.
  • Share pictures or stories of Mackenzie’s adoptable dogs on your Facebook or social media, with permission from your parent.
  • Ask your teacher to have us bring a dog to your class for a visit to talk about how to treat animals.
  • Make home-made treats and bring them to the sanctuary for the dogs to eat.

Collect items for their doggie wish list.

Pregnancy Resource Center 

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items for their wish list.

Ronald McDonald House 

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items for their wish list

Women at Risk 

HELP FROM HOME: Collect items for their wish list

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Does Your Kid Have What it Takes to Earn a Tablet Reader from a Kent County Library?


A 1,000 Day Reading Challenge has Landed in Kent County

Mom of a third grader here! And if you have a kid in elementary school too, I’m sure you’re no stranger to Reading Programs. They help us parents keep our kids reading in the summer and in return the kids get cool prizes.

Even after summer is over, my third grader continues to read. From school Book Club to Weekly Reading Logs, there is a whole lot of reading going on — and for good reason.

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