Veterans Day is a day to honor those who have served our country. With issues such as homelessness, PTSD, unemployment and suicide facing our nation’s veterans, they need all the help they can get.
Fortunately, there are many ways spouses can help former service members in their communities. These five organizations are just a sample of the thousands of support organizations that rely on volunteers and donations to make things run smoothly. This November 11 consider lending your time or resources to one.
Volunteer! 5 Veteran Support OrganizationsUnited Service Organizations (USO). The USO is a nonprofit organization that provides recreation-type services, care packages and entertainment to our servicemen and women, as well as their families, both locally and overseas. The USO provides free internet and email access to our deployed troops, housing assistance, support groups, family counseling, entertainment and more. With more than 160 locations worldwide, there are plenty of opportunities for military spouses to get involved and help out.
Volunteers can get involved in a number of ways. They can cheer on the troops as they arrive home from a deployment, or help out at sponsored events for service members and their families such as concerts, air shows and fun runs. If you cannot take the time to volunteer, then the USO is always accepting monetary donations as well.
For more information on becoming a volunteer, visit www.usovolunteer.org to fill out an application and find opportunities in your area.
Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project is a program aimed at helping those service members who have been injured in the line of duty. WWP was created after 9/11 to help the staggering number of wounded troops returning home from the combat zone. According to their website, for every one service member killed in action, seven are wounded -- which comes to almost 50,000 servicemen and women injured since 2001. WWP works to help those who have suffered serious issues from combat, as well as their families. This is a great organization to get involved with if you want to help those who are suffering physical or mental injuries as a result of their service.
WWP offers event-based volunteer opportunities which can be found here on the WWP website. Other volunteer opportunities include offering emotional support to wounded warriors and their families through letters or donations, helping wounded warriors get to and from doctors appointments or volunteering time at fundraising events.
You can also get involved in charity events such as Tough Mudder which is a 10-12 mile, team-oriented obstacle course. To date, Tough Mudder alone has raised nearly $8.5 million for WWP to help wounded warriors and their families. You can also help support the cause by donating a Facebook post or Tweet to help raise awareness of the organization, hosting your own fundraising event or becoming a student ambassador.
For more information on volunteer opportunities in your area go here.
Homes for Our Troops. Homelessness is a big issue for veterans. There are many in my own community who are homeless and unemployed. Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) builds houses that are custom made, allowing disabled veterans to live on their own without needing constant care. The houses built are 2,650 square feet and fully wheelchair accessible. Each home can also be customized with 40 special adaptations, making every house unique to the veteran who will be living in it. The best part is that these homes are provided at no cost to veterans.
There are so many ways to support this organization. You can volunteer at an event to help build a home, or donate goods and services. On a larger scale, the organization also accepts donated land, and is open to partnering with builders for development projects. You can even donate your car to Veteran Car Donations, which will auction it off for money that goes to HFOT.
Operation Gratitude. I always make it a priority every year to send holiday cards to our deployed troops, but those who are deployed aren’t the only ones who could use a little pick me up. Sending a letter, card or care package can help brighten a veteran’s day who may be suffering from PTSD or other combat-related issues. Operation Gratitude has shipped more than one million care packages to veterans, first responders, new recruits, caregivers and wounded warriors since it was founded in 2003.
Military spouses can get involved in a number of ways: writing letters to deployed troops, veterans, new recruits and wounded warriors or creating hand-made crafts/projects to send. For a full list of things you can do to get involved or for more information go here.
Hope for the Warriors. If you want to help not only veterans but their families as well, then Hope for the Warriors is a great organization to get in touch with. This organization was founded by military wives in 2006 and works to help post-9/11 service members who have serious physical and psychological issues from working in the line of duty. It offers services such as counseling, career transition programs, education programs and even family transition programs for troops leaving the military
Since the organization is based on helping individuals at a personal level, volunteer opportunities vary by location, and may include helping out with fundraising events or simply offering emotional support to veterans and their families in the area. Military spouses can also go online and make monetary donations, donate an unused vehicle or participate in promotions that give back such as Amazon Smile. For opportunities to volunteer with Hope for the Warriors in your area, reach out to to the organization here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are only five of the many organizations you can get involved with to help support veterans as well as our active duty servicemen and women. Not seeing anything that sparks your interest, but still want to find a way to volunteer with veterans? Visit the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and see what kind of opportunities there are in your local area.