Before Small Business Saturday, agencies push for Giving Tuesday: shopping for families in need

Posted at 5:23 PM, Nov 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-27 23:11:27-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Holiday shopping is in full swing, from Black Friday to Small Business Saturday and then Cyber Monday. Amidst the deal madness, there’s a push for Giving Tuesday: the day following the long weekend of shopping to keep families in need in mind when filling up the cart.

Friday, small businesses were buzzing with shoppers crossing things off their holiday list.

And earlier this year, Grand Rapids’ credit unions saw up to a 65-percent lending increase, helping to grow these local shops, according to Michigan Credit Union League and Affiliates.

In preparation for Small Business Saturday, Art of the Table Owner Amy Ruis told FOX 17 she’s hoping neighbors keep their dollars local during the holidays.

“I think it’s really nice to have different days where people really think about it and reflect on where they’re shopping, and where their dollars are going ‘cause it’s really nice to be able to stay in business as small people,” said Ruis.

Meanwhile, agencies like Heart of West Michigan United Way continue to promote Giving Tuesday: encouraging shoppers to become philanthropists and cash in on stores’ deals to give to people who need it most.

“Call our 211 human service hot-line, and they will connect you to a family in need that lives here in our community,” said Ellen Carpenter, Heart of West Michigan United Way vice president of marketing.

Carpenter said HWMUW is always looking for holiday volunteers and people to adopt a family their program; something as easy as calling 211 and signing up.

“There are many, many people in our community that are working really hard just to meet their basic needs, and they don’t have the disposable income for a special meal or for gifts, so this is an opportunity to give back,” said Carpenter.

It’s just one extra person, or family, to think of this holiday season.

If you would like to get involved and help those in need, here is a list of several Kent County holiday programs:

United Way Sponsored “Adopt a Family”

  • Donors provide gifts of food, gifts, and clothing
  • Families have already been selected from Head Start programs in Kent County
  • To become a sponsor call 2-1-1 or (800) 887-1107

Holiday Food Baskets

  • Holiday food baskets for families in need
  • Contact ACCESS for giving and volunteer opportunities. Visit or call (616) 774-2175

Toys for Tots: United States Marine Corps Reserve

  • New unwrapped toys for needy children
  • Toy donations may be left at any drop site. Visit: org/donate/toys.aspx to find your drop location(s)
  • Monetary donations may be donated at the Marine Reserve Center: 1863 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, MI 59505
  • Volunteers needed. Email for more information

Salvation Army Angel Tree

  • New unwrapped toys for needy children
  • Toy donations may be left at any drop site Visit
  • Volunteers needed. Call 616 – 459-3433 ext 1148

Santa Claus Girls

  • Monetary donations need.
  • Drivers need for delivery on Saturday, December 21. Call 616-787-0026

D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s

Family Futures

  • Gift collection for local Healthy Start families – stop by Family Futures office for a tag from the giving tree
  • Holiday gift wrapping volunteer opportunity – wrap gifts collected
  • Contact Bryana Hopkins, Volunteer Manager at or 616.855.5461 for more information

South End Community Outreach Ministries

  • Pride for Parents is a unique program which parents sign up to in credit for Christmas presents by volunteering. Parents may submit a wish list and purchase gifts with their credit
  • Financial donations are needed, along with volunteers to help wrap the presents in December

Arbor Circle Adopt A Family

  • Donors provide gifts of food, gifts, and clothing
  • Families have already been selected
  • Contact Janelle Hill at to become a sponsor