GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD)- The holidays are right around the corner, and so is the season of giving.

Live Local. Give Local. is highlighting ways you can help organizations across West Michigan in the next few weeks that could change someone’s year for the better.

Mel Trotter Ministries

With colder weather ahead, Mel Trotter Ministries is working to give winter coats to people experiencing homelessness.

It’s collecting new and gently used coats at dozens of locations in the greater Grand Rapids area.

Your help can save adults and children from the bitter winter cold by participating in Code Blue Now.

Dozens of Blue Barrel locations are stationed throughout Kent County, where donations can be dropped off through the end of December.

Businesses and organizations interested in hosting a Blue Barrel location still have time to register.

Hands of Hope Foundation

An artist in Holland is working to give back to an organization that helped her through her second bout of cancer this year.

This is the 23rd year Carolyn Stich has created a Holland-themed holiday card, commissioned by the Holland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, to support an organization in need.

This year, the partnership is working to serve the Hands of Hope Foundation.

Hands of Hope is an organization that provides financial support to cancer patients and their families across West Michigan.

“Being under the amazing care of the chemo nurses, I am so thrilled we get to share the funds with Hands of Hope,” said Stich.

Stich has titled this year’s card “The Jolly Snowman.”

The frosty figure is pictured in front of Holland’s iconic Big Red Lighthouse. Inside, the message reads, “Warmest Wishes from Big Red’s Winter Wonderland.” A single card sells for $3 and $18 for a package of 10.

The cards can be purchased exclusively at the Holland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (78 East 8th Street), the Carolyn Stich Studio (29 West 8th Street), Van Wieren Hardware (645 Douglas Avenue), and during the Kerstmarkt (8th Street Market Place).

YWCA Kalamazoo

The holiday season is a vulnerable time for women and their children who are experiencing domestic violence in their homes.

Right now, the YWCA Kalamazoo is working to gather supplies to make escaping a dangerous situation easier for these families.

A list of critical items that are needed in upcoming weeks that include:

  • New hats, gloves, scarves, coats, and boots for adults and children of all ages and sizes
  • New pillows, warm blankets and twin-size sheet sets for shelter residents
  • Personal care products like soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and especially hair conditioner, textured hair products and lotion for dry skin. 
  • Diapers and pull-ups of all sizes 
  • Gift cards to local retailers (Meijer, Target, Walmart, Home Goods, etc.)
  • New holiday gift items for all ages – these stock a free holiday “store” where YWCA clients can come and do their Christmas “shopping” for free

Many of these families are leaving their situations with little to no supplies.

Donations can be dropped off at YWCA Kalamazoo, located at 353 E. Michigan Avenue, on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Monetary donations can also be made by visiting the organization’s website.

Salvation Army Angel Trees

Salvation Army Angel Trees have tags hung to help bring the magic of Christmas to families in need.

Angel Tree sites are collecting unwrapped toys so that kids don’t have to go without this holiday season.

The Salvation Army says there is a greater need this Christmas based on what they’ve seen already. This year, its goal is to serve 25,000 children across West Michigan.

There’s still time to request hosting a tree, as well as registering for assistance. Local businesses, churches and families are encouraged to sign up if they feel called.

Established locations can be found by visiting the organization’s website.

Tags can be picked up at any of these locations. After you’re done shopping for needed items, bring them back unwrapped to your Angel Tree Location.