Thank You For All Your Support During the Holiday Season and Throughout 2022!

Clockwise from left: Foley & Lardner LLP, Tommy's Express LLC, BDO LLP

HUGE THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who made 2022 such a great year for Samaritas clients!

It’s hard to count all of the ways that our children and families were blessed through the holidays by all of you – but we will do our best to share some of the highlights!

Around 900 Children received Christmas Gifts through “Christmas Wish”! Through Christmas Wish, a program in partnership with Delta Dental, donors provide Christmas gifts to children in our care who otherwise wouldn’t receive gifts, many of them falling through the cracks of other gift-giving programs due to age, date of entry into care, or type of care received. Those 900 children included children in Foster Care, Family Preservation, Adoption, The Family Center, and New Americans!

Volunteers helped wrap gifts going to children! Volunteers also offered their festive and decorative skills during the holiday by helping wrap presents on their way to refugee kids! We know it’s hard enough to wrap your own presents on time – so huge shout-out to the volunteers who made sure kids in Samaritas’ care got the “unwrapping” experience too!

Volunteers decorated our centers! Speaking of festive and decorative skills, volunteer groups helped decorate some of Samaritas’ service sites for the holidays – including our main Detroit office, the visitation rooms in Detroit’s Child and Family Office, and the grounds of the Westland Family Center. Thank you for spreading cheer to all of the visitors and residents who were able to appreciate the holiday atmosphere.


Volunteers hosted Christmas parties! And finally, no Holiday Season would be complete without a good number of parties. Across our Affordable Living Communities, volunteer groups gave residents the chance to celebrate the holidays together by hosting or assisting with Christmas celebrations.

Now as we look back, not just on the holidays but on the entire year of 2022, we celebrate you for your commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

Thank you for making all of this possible.

(Keep an eye out for a Volunteer Impact Report heading your way in February!) 

Earlier This Fall, Volunteers Got in the "Halloween Spirit" with Trunk or Treating Around the State!

All around the state this fall, volunteers got their spook on for Trunk or Treating with Samaritas! These pop-up trick-or-treating parties have grown in popularity over the years and are a fantastic way to welcome children and families served by Samaritas – whether they are foster parents and children, families in Affordable Living, or newly arrived refugees – into some Halloween festivities.

For many of the children and adults in our New Americans program, this was their first time experiencing an American Halloween. Staff, partners, and volunteers decorated their cars (from spooky to silly, with plenty of dinosaurs) and handed out candy while families participated in crafts, face-painting, and yard games while eating cider and donuts. Meanwhile, sponsors helped provide candy, food, and prizes.

A big thank you to all of the volunteers and sponsors who made Trunk or Treats possible for our families this last year. Everyone had a blast, and we hope you did too!

If you didn't get to volunteer with a Trunk or Treat in 2022, but would be interested in the future, keep an eye out (in this newsletter or Samaritas' Volunteer Portal) for news of Samaritas Trunk or Treat parties near you!

Cedar Springs Baptist Church Gets Creative with Car Baskets!

This fall, Kristin Wynalda reached out to Samaritas with the idea of collecting “car baskets” for foster care workers’ cars. This idea was based on Kristin’s own experience as a respite care provider for foster care as she knew how much time children in the system might spend shuttled to and from appointments or to and from new foster homes – often frightening and uncomfortable experiences. That’s why Kristin along with the Mended Quiver foster care ministry at Cedar Springs Baptist Church (led by herself, Gina Keizer, and Julie Wittmer) decided to see what they could do to ease that “car time” for these kids.

After first reaching out to Samaritas to see if their plan would work, they collected enough snacks and toys to fill 26 “Car Baskets”! These baskets can go in workers’ cars to provide children comfort and entertainment and ease their transportation to new locations.

Shout to Kristin and the Mended Quiver ministry for this amazing idea – and coming through in such a big way! 

Samaritas in the Media! 

Check out these news stories to see how your support is helping empower others to live their fullest life possible! 

  • Detroit - Samaritas teams up with Amazon to find help for Ukrainian refugees this holiday season. Read more at Click on Detroit

  • Organization launches program to connect generations. GVSU students will engage with senior citizens in a form of 'grandparents day.' Read more at the Grand Rapids Business Journal.

  • DETROIT (WXYZ) — Over 100 Detroit families received free computers Wednesday. It’s the result of a charity partnership to give Detroit families the support they need to live healthy lives. For some, not having access to a computer can be an inconvenience. See more here.

Volunteer Spotlights! 

Katie Kiacz

Katie has gone above and beyond in her commitment to helping refugee families. She has presented at several Cultural Orientation sessions and does ESL tutoring for a client, and even took a Farsi intensive course to learn that language. She decorated a trunk for the Troy New American’s Trunk ‘n Treat event (pictured above), brought along her parents and daughter, and organized her own Amazon wish list for Halloween costumes, which ended up accounting for a good number of the costumes handed out and ensured everyone was able to get a costume – even with some last minute RSVPs!

Katie has even taken her volunteering directly to her workplace at Mott Community College, spreading the word about Samaritas’ needs and recruiting donors for Samaritas’ Fall Warm & Cozy Donation Drive. Learning how difficult it is for immigrants to go to college due to not qualifying for financial aid and other services, she has worked with administrators at her school to change some of the policies to make higher education more accessible and even helped start an endowment fund for a scholarship.

Thank you, Katie!

Current and Upcoming Volunteer Needs

URGENT NEED: Child Care for Foster Parent Support Groups

Volunteers are needed to assist with childcare during our monthly foster parent support groups. This is a great opportunity for groups looking for a regular volunteer schedule, whether monthly or through the year. You can make a direct impact in the lives of foster parents and children by providing families the chance to learn, connect, and grow in their journeys with other foster parents, as well as giving children in care the opportunity to connect and play with other foster children.

Support groups are held on the 2nd Tuesday of January, March, June, August, and October from 5:15pm-7:15pm. Other dates TBD.

Location: The Local Church, 1601 Galbraith Ave SE #304, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Volunteers need to be at least 18 and complete a criminal background check (ICHAT) and CRC.

Please contact Trina Kent at to volunteer. 

Group Opportunity Statewide: Lead an Activity at an Affordable Living Community

Get a group together - whether through your church, club, or business - for a fun volunteer opportunity to support individuals in Samaritas' Affordable Living Communities! 

Volunteer groups are needed to plan and organize events for seniors and persons with disabilities. Do you have a skill you love to teach and share with others, such as painting or scrapbooking? Do you love throwing parties like holiday parties of birthday parties? Or do you enjoy getting together with groups of people to dance, play games, watch movies, carve pumpkins, or sing songs? Whatever you love to do, you can share that love with the residents at our many Affordable Living Communities around the state! 

Contact Kayla Park at for more information.

Check out more volunteer needs and opportunities at our volunteer portal: 

Click here to go to the volunteer portal

Give To Our Good Samaritan Fund

As a volunteer, you have seen first-hand the positive impact Samaritas’ programs make in the life of vulnerable children and their families.  Your volunteerism enables Samaritas to meet the growing needs of individuals through our mission of serving people as an expression of the love of Christ.


If you haven't already, we invite you to also consider a gift to the Good Samaritan Fund. Our services for seniors, children, families, refugees, people with disabilities, those in need of emergency or affordable housing, and substance use treatment are some of the many needs we endeavor through this ministry. Through your support, YOU help us find and train more foster parents, enhance employment training for refugees and families, enable many to recover from addiction, serve more people with disabilities in their homes, and help families find permanent housing. With your partnership, we create so many ripples of positive transformation.

Support our Children and Families Today


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