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Things to Do: Volunteer opportunities in the mid-Michigan area

Cat posing for the camera at Capital Area Humane Society
Posted at 10:45 AM, Nov 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-20 10:45:23-05

LANSING, Mich. — Many organizations in mid-Michigan need volunteers. Not only during the holiday season but year-round. Here's a look at a couple of places you can help out.

Capital Area Humane Society 
If you love animals and have some extra space in your home, the capital area humane society could use your help. They are looking for foster families for some of their furry friends During the holiday season.

The Capital Area Humane Society was founded in 1936 in Lansing and has been serving the greater Lansing area for over 85 years.

We've been a really important part of companion animal care, obviously caring for homeless animals in our community and finding them the homes they deserve," said Julia Willson, president, and CEO of the Capital Area Humane Society. "Our fostering volunteers play a huge role in our ability to care for animals here in our community."

Cat posing for the camera at Capital Area Humane Society
Cat posing for the camera at Capital Area Humane Society

Fostering an animal is a great opportunity for those who might not be ready to commit to adoption. It offers support to animals who are getting ready for adoption, need extra time and attention because they are scared or shy, and need help adjusting to a sheltered life. The humane society is there to support you along the way. They supply things like food, kitty litter, and other things to make sure your experience is easy and comfortable. Fostering can typically be just a few days or a few weeks.

Puppies at Capital Area Humane Society
Puppies at Capital Area Humane Society

"So much of what foster volunteers and our volunteers here at the shelter do is just to fill in some of the voids where staff doesn't have the time and to enrich the lives of the animals that are here in the shelter environment," Willson said. "There are cats, dogs, puppies, kittens. Even sometimes our small pocket pets, guinea pigs bunnies need some extra help along the way before they can go home. So we need foster homes for all the animals we care for here at the shelter."

The humane society also has other volunteer opportunities for those looking to help out. You could help walk dogs, help out at special events, help with surgeries, and other needs.

Ele's Place
Animals aren't the only ones that need a little TLC, children do too. At Ele's Place in Lansing, you can volunteer to make a difference in a child's life.

"The current statistic in Michigan is one in 12 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 18," said Kristine Kuhnert, director at Ele's Place. "Here at Ele's place, we provide peer-to-peer support groups for children who are grieving."

Ele's Place
Ele's Place

They have been serving the community for 30 years at no cost to families. Each year, the organization has approximately 30,000 hours of volunteer time and over 300 active volunteers. Kuhnert says their door is always open to those who want to give back and there are a couple of ways you can help.

"The first is to work with our children. And that is making a commitment of being here the same night every week for nine months," Kuhnert said. "We also rely heavily on if you have office skills that you could share with us? Could you help us maintain our indoors and outdoors? So I often talk about time, treasure and talent. And there are many ways to share your volunteer and your time or your talents we will utilize in any way we possibly can."

Children's Group Room inside of Ele's Place
Children's Group Room inside of Ele's Place

You can also volunteer for upcoming events and donate supplies to the organization. Every Wednesday they put out a wish list on Facebook for things that they need.

Homeless Angels
And finally, Homeless Angels in Lansing could use some extra help with their CHRISTmas free store event.

Homeless Angels is a Christian-based organization. Their mission is to help those that are homeless, remove the barriers in their life that caused their homelessness and get them back into permanent housing. For the last five years, they've partnered with st. Gerard church to set up a store for those in need in Ingham, Clinton, and Eaton counties.

"Once they get to meet the people that we work with, that it's a life-changing event, not just for the people that we serve, but also for them as well," Tracie Baise, the director said. "We're serving 120 households here. And they get to come in, pick out the items that they want, at no charge to them, but they have the ability to pick for their children."

This event takes a few people to operate so right now they are looking for volunteers to give their time. Outside of the event, the organization is experiencing a staff shortage so they're looking for volunteers who would like to come in three hours a day.

"It doesn't have to be every day can be whenever that's convenient for them. But to be able to help us with some shelter, things that are happening, whether it's preparing meals, helping our case management team fill out paperwork, just mentoring some of the kids that we have here," Baise said.

She says they have a total of 43 kids that they serve in their two shelters and it can be a lot for them at times.

"We definitely are looking for individuals that want to come out and be a part of helping others," Baise said.

There are other volunteer opportunities in the mid-Michigan area. You can create a volunteer profile at ServeLansing.com to match with volunteer opportunities that are best for you.

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