Autumn is a time of transition. Leaves take on earthy warm hues, grass begins to go dormant, and chilly mornings indicate change is in the air. At United Way, we know that when temperatures start to drop, needs rise. That’s why in autumn, our Seasons of Caring efforts focus on connecting individuals and groups to meaningful volunteer opportunities that help families meet their basic needs.
In our region, 44 percent of households struggle to meet their basic needs, and the problem is growing. As a result, there are parents who can’t find affordable, quality childcare; children going to school hungry; and people forced to choose between paying their bills and putting food on the table.
When you volunteer this autumn, you can help reverse the trend.
Last year, we funded more than 50 partner agencies to deliver services that help meet people’s basic needs. Together, we served 140,000 individuals. We also connected people with safety net resources through the United Way 2-1-1 helpline. Our 2-1-1 call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to help people in need access local resources like food, shelter and utility assistance.
There are a wide variety of ways you can contribute, including delivering food and organizing donations for distribution.
Here are five Seasons of Caring activities you can participate in that will help families build meet their basic needs this autumn:
Zaman International is a humanitarian organization that helps clients with basic needs such as food and clothes. They also empower individuals through training and vocational programs that foster self-reliance. On Oct. 29, join United Way at Zaman where we’ll assist with sorting and organizing clothing and food donations, arranging the Sewing Center and Literacy Center, and more.
In autumn and throughout the year, we partner with organizations that provide meals to those in need. If you’re looking for a recurring way to give back this season, mark your calendar for the third Monday of October, November and December and visit The Guidance Center to pack and distribute food to local families.
Nothing says autumn like comfort food. If you enjoy cooking for friends and family, share the love with those in need. Pack up the pumpkins, apples and other fall ingredients and cook a meal at HAVEN. This organization and United Way partner serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Oakland County. Make the meal a family affair by bringing along a junior chef, age 13 or older, to participate.
When we connect youth with career options, we’re helping ensure that members of younger generations will be able to find a good job and meet their family’s basic needs. During our Find Your Future: Career Exploration Fair on Nov. 15, you can help high school freshman navigate the event and find their way to a more secure future. We need 150 volunteers to make this event a success. Sign up with your coworkers or church and make it a group affair.
As fall comes to a close, celebrate the season’s bounty. Turn up your favorite holiday tunes, fill your travel mugs with warm cider and deliver meals to seniors. Focus: HOPE’s annual senior holiday meal delivery day takes place on Dec. 14. Volunteers are needed to deliver packages and holiday cheer to more than 1,400 local seniors. All ages can participate, which makes it a great way to give back as a family.
For more Seasons of Caring volunteer opportunities, visit our volunteer portal.