Workers and volunteers at Battle Creek's Charitable Union were disheartened to say the least when they came to work on Monday at the building on Calhoun Street.

CEO Theresa Allen says the organization was founded on the belief that ‘neighbors help neighbors.  "When one person out-grows or no longer needs a piece of clothing they give it to Charitable Union so that garment can be recycled into a new outfit for someone else", said Allen.  "The staff and volunteers at Charitable Union are humbled by the daily generous donations they have received over the past 133 years."

Sadly however, early this past Monday morning, four donors dumped large donations of clothing in the parking lot, while it was raining. Allen says that by the time the staff arrived those offerings were soaked and soiled.  As a result almost all of them were beyond repair and ultimately had to be put in a dumpster.

Charitable Union photo
Charitable Union photo

“It is extremely unfortunate that those donations were not received during our normal afternoon business hours,” Allen said.  “Due to COVID, we had to move to a TOUCH-FREE donation method, meaning donors are asked to place their donations into a bin so we can store them for 72-hours for the safety of our staff and volunteers before we process them.  The community’s generous support fills a 20-foot cargo container, but with our limited staff and volunteers, it is all we can do to get through a cargo container each day.”

That is why Charitable Union is asking those in the community to help out by donating items only during regular business hours Monday – Thursday from 1– 5 p.m. We offer this message not to discourage donations, but rather to explain how even those kind deeds can go awry.

Please know that the families who receive these items are extremely grateful their neighbors care enough to share what they have.  Thank you for looking out for your neighbors. Help that brings hope!

At Charitable Union we rely on volunteers heavily to help process donations and get them into our Free Store, however, Covid has significantly reduced our number of volunteers. If you are interested in helping out, even just for an hour or two it would make a difference. To schedule your volunteer time, contact Tammy at (269) 964-7234.

About Charitable Union

The Charitable Union is located at 85 Calhoun Street, Battle Creek MI 49017. The Charitable Union’s Free Store is open Monday-Wednesday 9 AM – 4 PM every week. It is also open on the 2nd Saturday of the month from 9 AM – 1 PM. People needing assistance should bring their Bridge, WIC, or Medicaid card with them, along with a photo id showing their residence in Calhoun County. For more information, please call: 269-964-7234 or visit our website:

Donations may be given Monday-Thursday 1 - 5 PM. Due to Covid all donations are “touch free” meaning we cannot touch them until they have been held in a storage POD for 72-hours.

The Charitable Union provides FREE OF CHARGE clothing, personal care, baby formula, steel-toed shoes, and household items to Calhoun County residents living with Bridge, Medicaid, and WIC cards. The Charitable Union serves seniors, adults, the homeless, and children at our store, located at 85 Calhoun St., Battle Creek, MI 49017, and via events such as our Back-to-School and Winter Coat distributions throughout the county.

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