“We don’t know them all, but we owe them all.”Anonymous
Want to show your gratitude to a Veteran, but not sure how to do it? Our Veterans have sacrificed so much, and it can be tricky to think of ways to give back in a way that’s meaningful. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of eight unique ways you can help. Whether you’ve got lots of time or only a few spare moments to lend a hand, there’s something you can do!
1. Say ‘Thank You’
Yes, it’s that easy. Don’t just do it on the holidays – if you see Vet or Military Personnel; tell them, “Thank you for your service.” It’s a very simple but very effective way to honor their service and sacrifice.
2. Offer Veteran Discounts
If you own a business, you can offer Veterans a discount on your products or services as another way to show your gratitude.
*If you have a business that offers discounts to Veterans, consider adding it to our Veteran Business Directory to spread the word!*
3. Volunteer for a Veteran Service Organization
Veterans often need assistance in many different areas of life including financially, educationally, socially, & health and career-wise.
If you are interested in volunteering your time, contact your local chapter of the following groups to determine the right service organization that will best match your talents and availability:
- American Legion
- Veterans of Foreign Wars
- Department of Veterans Affairs – Search for your local VA Hospital at VARatings.com to see what people in your area have to say about it, or add your own rating!
These groups all have regular, occasional, and special events only volunteers – there’s options for every type of schedule!
Here are a few examples of volunteer opportunities:
- Administrative support and assistance to clinical staff volunteers
- Making patient reminder calls
- Escort volunteers
- Food court ambassadors
- Coffee servers
- Information desk attendant
- Shuttle drivers
- Veterans History Project volunteers
- Volunteers In-Home Respite Program, in which volunteers go to a veteran’s home once or twice a week for two to four hours to give the caregiver a break
- Companion therapy
By volunteering, you not only will be helping service members adjust to civilian
4. Donate Your Vehicle or Gently Used Household Items
If you’re considering holding a garage sale this summer, you can save time and energy by donating clothing, furniture, thrift goods and even cars to a multitude of non-profit organizations that support all veterans and their families.
Here are two great organizations that accept donations of this nature – with free pickup!
- Vehicles for Veterans – “Vehicles for Veterans is Car Donation Foundation’s tax-exempt vehicle donation program that benefits disabled veterans. Our car donation program accepts cars, boats (with trailer), RVs, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles, whether they are running or not.”
- Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) – “You can help veterans obtain the services they need by making a monetary donation or by donating your used clothes, furniture and other household items.” (This organization also accepts cars).
Plus, you can declare the donation on next year’s income taxes!
5. Make a Financial Donation
Veterans organizations are always in need of financial donations to continue the services they provide.
Here is a small list of Veteran non-profits you can donate to, but there are hundreds more that can be found with just a little bit of research!
- Vet Tix – “The Vet Tix mission is to provide tickets to sporting events, concerts, performing arts and family activities aimed at improving mental welfare and enriching the lives of military service members and veterans.”
- Soldier’s Angels – “Soldiers’ Angels provides aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, their families, and a growing veteran population.”
- The Wounded Warrior Project – “We are here for their first step, and each step that follows. Because we believe that every warrior should have a positive future to look forward to. There’s always another goal to achieve, another mission to discover. We are their partner in that mission.”
- “Recycle Ride” program for military personnel down on their luck. Caliber Collision has joined forces with the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides® program and many insurance providers to obtain and refurbish each vehicle back to perfect working order. This program works to put an end to these hardships by presenting highly deserving families with newly refurbished vehicles.
Keep in mind that any monetary donation you make to a registered nonprofit organization can be declared as a deduction on your federal income taxes.
6. Volunteer for a Stand Down
Stand Downs are Military events whose purpose is to collect supplies & provide help to homeless Vets. Started by two concerned Vietnam Veterans in the Summer of 1988, Stand Downs have since sprung up across the nation in an effort to get Vets the help & support they need.
The term ‘Stand Down’ is derived from Stand Downs that occurred during the Vietnam War in which combat troops were removed from the field and their basic needs (including ‘clean uniforms, warm meals, medical and dental care, mail, and camaraderie’) were provided in an area safe from harm.
Typically lasting 1-3 days, Veterans receive food, clothing, health screenings, housing solutions, substance abuse treatment, and mental health counseling.
Find a way to Volunteer at a Stand Down near you or sign up to sponsor your own here.
7. Help Sponsor an Honor Flight
Many Veterans never get the chance to see the very monuments that honor their sacrifices.
Honor flights are carried out by non-profit organizations and are dedicated to sending Veterans to see the memorials of their respective war(s), done at no cost to the Veterans. These programs are monumentally (no pun intended) important to Vets who would be otherwise unable to make these trips.
For a very low price, you can help sponsor an honor flight to Washington DC that affords World War II, Korea, and Vietnam Vets the opportunity to see these noble sights.
8. Who Doesn’t Like Gifts?
Do you have a Veteran neighbor, grandparent, or teacher? Consider getting them a gift that honors their service. They’ll cherish it forever and it can open up a meaningful conversation.
You can find a full collection of items for every branch, conflict, and campaign here.
Now that you’ve got a few ideas, get out there and help our Veterans! No matter what you decide to do, know that your efforts will better the lives & brighten the days of the brave men & women who have given so much to defend our great country. Did we miss something? Let us know an interesting way you or someone you know has found to give back to Veterans!