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The Beauty of Nature Comes in Different Ways

Our Impact This Year

  • Households Served in 2019


  • Volunteer Hours in 2019


  • Backdoor Donors in 2019


News & Notes

Accepting Donations on Monday & Thursday

Charitable Union will begin accepting donations on Monday and Thursday of each week. Please note the following changes in our TOUCHLESS DONATION process and donation hours:
Monday 8am – 5pm
Tuesday CLOSED
Wednesday CLOSED
Thursday 8am – 5pm
Saturday CLOSED
Please do not leave donations outside of these hours. We need to ensure the safety of our staff.
Here’s how it works: Stay in your car until staff directs you to unload your donations into the appropriate space. You will need to deposit all of your donations into the appropriate bin. We ask that you separate hard surfaces (glass, metal, wood, ceramics) from clothing, bedding, and shoes. Donations will be quarantined for 72 hours to protect our staff, volunteers, and the families we serve.

Our Free Store is available via “curbside” until the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order expires. Anyone in need can call 269-964-7234. Staff will complete all paperwork over the phone and shop for the items you need. These items can normally be picked-up within 30-minutes of calling.

April 7, 2020 COVID-19 Update

Together we can get through this! I hope that you, your family, friends, and employees are safe during this unprecedented halt to our everyday life. I want to offer a quick update on Charitable Union.

  • We are canceling our annual fundraiser, Decorated Table Event. To our sponsors and ticket holders who chose to make these 100% donations instead of a refund, THANK YOU! Your generosity is a reminder of why Charitable Union has been able to serve this community for over 133 years.
  • We are still serving those in need. This is done through curbside service. We encourage you to call (269-964-7234) before stopping, we need time to shop for you. (Monday – Thursday 8:00-5:00 and Friday 9:00-1:00).
  • Staff are busy sewing face masks, to date, we have delivered almost 500 masks throughout the community to front line workers and service providers. A reminder that many hands make light work!

Our Donor Hall and Gift Shop will remain closed during the Stay Home Order. More to come on donations when the order is lifted.

We will continue to keep you updated on our activities through social media and e-newsletters. We hope that in the future we can count on you to support us in all of our activities with Help that brings Hope! Together we can get through this and though we face some changes we will manage our new norms together.

~Teresa Allen, CEO

Changes in Services due to Covid 19

Free Store – services will be available via CURB SIDE. This means, those with a phone will need to call upon arrival (269-964-7234) complete an intake over the phone and the item(s) you need will be pulled by staff and delivered outside. Those without a phone can ring the Gift Shop doorbell and complete paperwork through the door.
Programs available include; baby formula, baby layette, steel toed boots, workforce attire, period packs, emergency services (please call), and fire victim. Steel toed boots, workforce attire, and fire victims required the proper referral.
We plan to be staffed Monday – Thursday 8:00-5:00 and Friday 9:00-1:00.
Donor Door
– please hold all donations at home at this time. The CDC has suggested that Coronavirus can live on plastic and cardboard surfaces which is how donations normally come to us.
We are so fortunate that is great community has supported Charitable Union for over 133 years through clothing donations. We will need your donations when the virus is under control. We ask you to wait till then.
Gift Shop @ Charitable Union – is closed at this time. We will communicate when the shop is open again.

Decorated Table a Great Evening

A Note from Teresa Allen

Did you ever read “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” as a kid?  Remember as a kid how the worst things in the world included gum in your hair and the dreaded center backseat of the car?  If only life's potholes were that simple!

Some potholes in life cannot be avoided; the closing of a business so you lose your job, or a house fire and you lose all of your worldly possessions. These types of potholes are life altering, but if given the proper supports you will bounce back.

I had the honor of serving a young woman and her boyfriend after their house fire. It was a rental unit, they lost everything but the clothing on their backs and they did not have renter's insurance. When she came to Charitable Union, she was unfamiliar with our Free Store and our mission to contribute to Human Dignity.

She and her boyfriend are both hard workers, but they couldn't work. They didn't have proper work clothing. So, step one was to give them a weeks’ worth of work clothes. But
they would need more. “Do you normally lounge in sweats or gym shorts”, I asked? Let's grab some of them too.

While she shopped for herself. I shopped for the boyfriend. She got the call they had a place to stay, and he was off to pick-up their new bed. I asked about the size of the bed and went to our Fire Aisle to see what we might have for bedding. I found a king-sized bed-in-a-bag (thank you to the donors who ensure we have these types of items, for occasions like this). As I gave her the new bedding, she broke down in tears. She could not believe strangers would support her like this and give her new items to replace the things she had lost.

Imagine how devastating it is to realize you have lost everything. You must start over, you don't know where to turn, and life itself seems like an obstacle. This is where Charitable Union fits in, providing one person's old as another person's new!

We are blessed to be embarking upon our 133rd year of service in this community. Help that brings Hope!

Stained Glass Art Depicts CU Mural

Charitable Union received a wonderful gift recently from Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. The above stained glass art piece now hangs in the window in front of the building on 85 Calhoun street. It depicts the charitable works that our agency has been a part of for the past 132 years here in the Battle Creek and surrounding Calhoun County area. On behalf of the board, staff and clients at Charitable Union, thank you Chapel Hill Methodist Church!

  • –Adam and Deb Dingwall
    –Adam and Deb Dingwall

    “Help that brings hope,” that is a tag line that Charitable Union uses to describe itself. And for more than 17 years we have seen, first hand, the hope that this organization has brought to our community. From serving on the Board of Directors to volunteering, and by being both backdoor and financial donors ourselves, we know that our time and our financial support has helped Charitable Union bring hope to many in our community. How?

    • Since 1887, Charitable Union has helped create change in Calhoun County. By mobilizing volunteers to invest time and talent to help our community bring hope to those in need…

    • Hope that comes from a child receiving a new outfit to begin a school year or a winter coat to keep them warm during the long Michigan winters… last year more than 4,612 children were helped…

    • The new-found hope that comes from having appropriate clothing for a job interview or steel toed shoes that will enable someone to get a job at a factory that requires them…..or scrubs because they are needed to secure a job… 551 scrubs and 346 steel toed shoes were distributed in 2017…

    While these are just a few examples of how the work of Charitable Union impacts lives, a child cannot attend school with only one outfit a year…. the need continues all year. And so must our commitment. Charitable Union continues to invest its time and resources in our children….our future….our hope and so must OUR commitment continue.

    Several years ago at a community meeting on at-risk youth, a young teen addressed us all and said: “We are all ‘at risk’ until we feel connected.” This very wise teen who came, not from poverty, but certainly knew its sting, stopped us in our tracks and made us realize the importance of working together for change. We invite you to connect with Charitable Union to help bring the hope so needed in our world today.

    There have been many challenges, as there are for all non-profits today. But Charitable Union continues to seek out ways to tighten its belt to ensure that they will be around and able to serve for years to come. It is that kind of fiscal responsibility that speaks volumes to us and pushes us to want to support this non-profit however we are able.

    We are proud of our involvement with this community gem and we hope you will join us and many others in supporting their important work in our community during 2016 and beyond. It is only through our community support that Charitable Union can be the “Help that brings Hope.” Please join us.

  • -Celeste Clark
    -Celeste Clark

    Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself... Serve and thou shall be served."

    Charitable Union is a gem in our community that lives up to this mantra. It is a place that serves---in its support of families with their clothing needs, securing jobs, and advocating for other services. Have you ever heard of a student at the start of the school year in need of school clothing, or during winter without a coat and boots?

    These are just two examples of the many programs that Charitable Union undertakes to assist our children in this community. Equally, if not more important is "how" Charitable Union goes about its work. They take great care to show dignity and respect, and to create a feeling of "family." Whether you are receiving the services offered, dropping off a donation, or shopping in the gift shop, there is a feeling you are among friends. Those who work and volunteer at Charitable Union embody the spirit of their mission and purpose: "To contribute to human dignity by providing resources at no charge to help lead people out of poverty."

    Charitable Union is only able to accomplish this mission through your generosity! The need is so great and the time is now to invest in our children so that they can be positioned for a successful future. I hope you will join me and many others in supporting the wonderful work of the Charitable Union by continuing your commitment…. If you have not given in the past, please consider becoming a 'giving' friend and touch the lives of others!

© 2020 Charitable Union

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