Friends and family of individuals served by JARC whoop it up at a festive holiday party at Adat Shalom Synagogue.

The holidays offer the perfect opportunity to give to local nonprofits in the community that help others. Here’s a sample of Jewish agencies that you could give to this season.

Featured photo courtesy of JARC

December is the month for giving — especially gifts and parties for friends, family and co-workers, but it is also traditionally a special time to help those in need. Many nonprofit agencies welcome gifts of cash, needed items and volunteer help at year’s end. Some conduct annual giving campaigns with donor matches to raise funds for special projects or general operations. The following is a sampling of a few Jewish agencies.

Many other worthy Jewish and secular nonprofit organizations and causes can be found online at their websites. Most offer donors a convenient way to give online.

Friendship Circle
Friendship Circle of Michigan assists 3,000 individuals with special needs and their families by providing recreational, social, educational and vocational programming. Assistance is also provided to individuals and families struggling with addiction.

Donated items sought include laptops; assorted acrylic paints, Blick or Liquitex; a foosball table; assorted color, craft, watercolor or art papers; sensory water table; high-quality artist colored pencils, paintbrushes, alcohol-based markers or multicolored Sharpie sets; bean bags; overhead projector; weighted blankets, pillows, other weighted items; disco/dance floor pad, MacBook Pro laptop; musical instruments; hairdryers; gym class scooters; sensory tools (stress balls, weighted lap pads); 12 stackable studio chairs; paper cutter; and a Saori loom (for adults with disabilities). Contact: Randall Marie Hutchinson at (248) 788-7878 ext. 211 or randall@friendshipcircle.org.

Youth Federation of Temple Israel (YFTI) hosted an annual Chanukah party for the people that JARC serves. Jeff Aisen

JARC (JARC.org)
JARC provides high-quality, community-based residential and support programs, serving nearly 200 adults in its group homes and various supported independent living arrangements.

Monetary contributions for social opportunities include date nights for couples; dinner out for a group home; and a Chanukah celebration for a few of the homes to enjoy together. Donations also can be used to purchase a vehicle to provide reliable and safe transportation for a JARC home.

Donated items sought include new sheets and towels; new dishes, silverware and cookware, and new small kitchen appliances. Contact: jennykabert@jarc.org or call (248) 940-2617 or email.

Volunteer opportunities also are available: Friend-to-Friend volunteers work directly with the individuals JARC serves, sharing their time and friendship; event volunteers provide hands-on help at JARC events, such as monthly Bingo; Judaic volunteers share their love of Judaism with their friends from JARC, perhaps by gathering for a Shabbat dinner or celebrating a holiday. Contact Jessica at (248) 940-2607 or jessicatierney@jarc.org.

JFS (jfsdetroit.org)
Through more than 30 programs, JFS serves thousands of individuals with mental health and wellness needs, safety net issues, and programs for senior adults and the Russian-speaking community.

Cash donations of any amount are welcome to help individuals and families who face challenging situations from inadequate income for basic needs to lack of transportation for an older adult’s medical appointment. Contact Wendy Eisenshtadt at (248) 592-2339.

Donated items might include gift cards for stores such as Target, Kohls and Meijer to fill in items not covered through the Adopt a Family program; and slipper socks for care packages provided by the Cancer Thrivers Network for Jewish Women, a JFS program, to chemotherapy patients at local infusion centers. Contact: Lindsay Leder at (248) 592-2309.
Volunteer opportunities include friendly visitors for homebound older adults; administrative assistance in the office; delivery people for kosher Meals on Wheels; and tech-savvy individuals to help older adults with electronic items. Contact: Emily Croitori at (248) 592-2317.

JVS (jvs.org)
JVS Human Services helps more than 10,000 Metro Detroiters with counseling, training and supportive services for people with disabilities, job seekers, seniors and others in need.

Donated items might include gift cards for subscriptions to Amazon unlimited music and audible books; specific arts and crafts supplies; clothing for adults and gift cards for Meijer or Walmart for clothing; adaptive communication devices such as Go Talk speech tablets, noise-canceling headphones, mp3 players for music and audio books; tactile or Braille dominoes sets, Braille Uno and Connect 4 games; gas cards for job seekers to reach interview sites, internships and employment workshops; and employers to provide job shadowing and internships for people with disabilities. Contact: Sandy Schuster at (248)-233-4290 or sschuster@jvshumanservices.org.

Volunteer opportunities include active seniors who can assist with mailings, packaging and sorting as well as individuals who enjoy community outings; pet volunteers; and sharing expertise in art, music, yoga, sports, card games and other activities. Contact: Dorothy Moon at (248) 233-4392 or dmoon@jvshumanservices.org.

Chris, a Kadima member, works in Kadima’s Hydroponics Garden, which is operated by Kadima’s Zussman Activity Center members. They harvest dozens of heads of lettuce every few months that are then used in cooking. Courtesy of Kadima

Kadima (kadimacenter.org)
Kadima provides comprehensive residential, therapeutic and social services to all people with mental health needs as they move forward in their lives.

A gift to Kadima’s 2019 Annual Campaign will go directly to provide safe, supportive housing, therapy and enrichment programs for people with mental health challenges and their families.

Donated items could include hygiene essentials such as dental products, soap, deodorant, shampoo, lotion, etc. These items can be dropped off at Kadima, 15999 W. 12 Mile Road, Southfield.

Tamarack Camps (tamarackcamps.com)
Tamarack Camps builds a vibrant community by providing Jewish camping experiences for children and families, respectful of financial abilities.

Tamarack Camps is seeking donations for tripping gear for Camp Maas, Travel Trips and Outpost Camps. A generous donor is matching up to $10,000 through year-end 2019.

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