Michigan charity groups in overdrive as holidays approach

Posted at 7:59 AM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 08:28:14-05

As the weather shifts the nights feel longer — for those in need in our area, the need seems to increase.

Charity groups are kicking into overdrive as the holidays approach — while Thanksgiving and Christmas are a big deal, the day-to-day stuff on top of it is never more needed.

The Salvation Army has dozens of programs that operate throughout the year, but much of the funding comes from a holiday push.

Whether it’s donating your time or money, the groups who service the homeless and needy say it’s necessary now more than ever.

“For a lot of folks it’s the only meal they’ll get for the whole day, and we have to be there,” said Greg Taylor, a driver for the Bed and Bread program.

Taylor understands the need better than most. He used to live a different life — he was caught up in drugs and alcohol, the Wayne County jail was often the place he called home during his younger years. These days Taylor is clean, sober and giving back after realizing the lifeline the Bed and Bread trucks threw him years ago.

“It’s all about giving back now,” said Taylor.

During an average winter week the Bed and Bread program will feed 18- to 24-thousand meals off their fleet of vehicles to the needy in the community. This time of year they’ve got double the work as they’re in the midst of a 10-day stretch prepping for Thanksgiving meals.

“It’s definitely different than any job I’ve had,” said Chef Mike Block. “A lot more rewarding.”

Chef Mike has been with the Salvation Army for a few years — he said the key is to feed hearty meals that will get those in need through the long days. As Chef Mike explained, without volunteers they wouldn’t be able to accomplish their lofty daily goals.

Volunteers take shifts as long as seven hours to help deliver food in the Bed and Bread trucks. Others will work a few hours in the kitchen — it’s all helpful.

“It takes a community to feed a community,” said Chef Mike.

Of course, it’s not just work in the kitchen that keeps the Salvation Army operating — the biggest need during the winter months is a balance between volunteers for Salvation Army Bellringers and the donations people drop into those red kettles.

At this point in time there are more than 114-thousand hours of red kettle bellringers that need to be filled. There are families that you can adopt that need help for Christmas this year — and, of course, you can always donate money as Salvation Army is looking to raise roughly $7.85 million this year.

If you’d like to donate your time as a bellringer you can visit the group’s special Salvation Army Bellringer at — if you’d like to volunteer as an individual, or a group, to help with the Bed and Bread campaign you can contact the Salvation Army Harbor Light location which houses the local Salvation Army’s kitchen: (313) 361-6136.