Friday, December 07, 2007

Southwest Solutions' Holiday Wish List

December is one of my favorite months. I love the holiday celebrations, the splendid food and treats, the tinsel, the pretty wrapping paper and ribbons, the flashy lights and everything else the 12th month of the year brings.

The thing I like most about this month, though, is the gift-giving -- and not the gifts I give to my husband, parents or friends. The gifts I enjoy giving most are the ones for individuals that I will never meet. Individuals that are not fortunate enough to have Christmases like the ones I had growing up or like the ones I have today.

My condo complex used to adopt a family for Christmas and, through this, I discovered how cool it is to buy gifts for children and families in need. My complex no longer does this, but every year I receive an email at the end of November from an individual or organization looking for donations of specific items and unwrapped gifts. Call it holiday magic.

This year, that organization is Southwest Solutions (SWSOL), a 40+-year-old community mental health and housing development agency working to build a healthy Southwest Detroit community.

I first heard about SWSOL back in 2005 when it won Crain's Best Managed Non-Profit that year, but really got to know the organization a few months ago on a bus tour of its agency and redevelopment sites. I was so impressed with the organization that I attended another event, the grand opening of the Whitdel Lofts, 32 new units of artist housing, a few weeks later. (Side note -- the Whitdel is a great old Moorish-inspired building, complete with the Contermporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID)-run Ladybug Art gallery, plus art education facilities.)

Any type of holiday giving is wonderful, whether it's a handful of coins thrown into a red Salvation Army kettle or giving up some of your time for others, but there's something special about going to the store, picking out a present and taking it to a representative of a positive organization like SWSOL.

Interested in helping Southwest Solutions this holiday season? Unwrapped, gender-neutral, educational gifts for children from birth to age 10 are needed, as are:

Laundry baskets with cleaning supplies and kitchen towels;
Adult-size XL and XXL hooded sweatshirts;
Men's and women's socks, hats and gloves.
Donations are tax-deductible and SWSOL is happy to provide you with a receipt for tax purposes. Gifts are needed in time for a December 16 Christmas Party.

For more information, please contact Mary Madigan, Fund Development Manager, at (313) 849-4902 or at

Southwest Solutions operates successful programs in family literacy, mental health counseling, home ownership counseling, supportive housing and commercial revitalization. Please visit SWSOL on the Web for more information.

Have a question or comment on this post?
I'd love to hear from you!
E-mail me at