Each year, Random Acts staff celebrate the holiday season by looking for ways to spread kindness in their communities. Their holiday kindnesses take many different forms. Some people connect with local individuals or organizations in need. Others choose to support a familiar cause that is near and dear to their heart. For Staff Writer Madison Petro, holiday kindness involved learning about and connecting with a nonprofit she had not previously known existed.
Connecting with a Coworker
Madison’s holiday kindness story began when she asked her coworkers if they knew of anyone in need of some extra help this holiday season. This led her to connect with Nadine Jones, the founder and director of Love a Michigan Vet Project. Madison and Nadine had never met before, as they are based in different cities. While messaging back and forth about their ideas to bring holiday kindness to Michigan military veterans, they were also able to get to know each other a bit better. Madison says she looks forward to meeting Nadine in person and volunteering with her in the future.
Love a Michigan Vet Project
Love a Michigan Vet Project was founded in 2016, with the goal of supporting local veterans. The organization currently serves 175 veterans who are housed in four different locations in the Detroit, Michigan, area. They provide referrals for counseling, legal aid, and housing, as well as automobile discounts and employment resources. Love a Michigan Vet Project also works with community partners to address urgent needs, including housing, food, and clothing, for those in crisis.
As Nadine put it, “Anything a veteran needs, we try to provide it.” One way this is achieved is by maintaining a food pantry and toiletry collections. When a veteran is in need, those items are immediately available. Care packages are shipped to those who are deployed overseas.
During the holiday season, the organization serves dinner at local shelters. When serving holiday dinners, they provide each veteran with a backpack full of necessities. Each person receives a new coat, underwear, socks, T-shirts, a towel, a complete set of toiletries, hats, scarves, and gloves. Love a Michigan Vet Project also adopts veterans and military families during Thanksgiving and Christmas. They provide these families with holiday meals and gifts.
Madison and Nadine discussed a few different ideas while corresponding. Ultimately, they decided on gifting an industrial sized popcorn maker and popcorn to one of the shelters that Love A Michigan Vet works with. Emmanuel House provides housing for 75 local veterans, who can all share the popcorn maker year round. Madison and Nadine hope that the popcorn maker can add to movie nights or special occasions and provide everyday snacks for veterans for a long time to come.
Madison ordered the gifts and had them shipped to Nadine’s house. Once they arrived, Nadine wrapped them and delivered them while Love a Michigan Vet Project served dinner at Emmanuel House. Here is what Nadine said about the delivery:
“I wrapped the big box and had a lucky vet open for all. They were like big kids. Their eyes lit up, and they wanted to use it right away!! It was a small gesture that made a difference to 75 of our country’s heroes. It warmed my heart, a stranger from afar helped make their Christmas brighter.
From myself and all the vets, thank you for your act of kindness!!!”