From donating airline miles to volunteering with the VA, here are simple ways to show your appreciation to our military veterans
Those who have served the country have given so much: their time, their dedication and in many cases, much more.As the nation gears up to observe Veterans Day, many of us are looking for ways to give back. Here are a few ways to support former service members both this weekend and beyond!
Show support at a local Veterans day parade
Each year towns and cities around the United States host Veterans Day parades to honor those who have served their country. New York City's parade, for example, is the largest in the country and will be going on for its 104th year on Nov. 11, per ABC 7.
Shop at veteran-owned businesses and stores supporting vets
Another way to show support for those who have served is to shop at businesses who support the armed forces either through donations or in hiring efforts. For example, this year, Men’s Wearhouse is partnering with four different organizations in their efforts to support veterans and has committed to matching customer donations up to $1M.
Starbucks is another company that has committed to helping veterans and over the last ten years, has hired more than 40,000 former service members and has says they will hire 5,000 more each year moving forward, per Starbucks’ Stories & News website.
The Home Depot is another business that, through its Home Depot Foundation, helps improve the housing and other facilities for veterans like Major Jonathan Turnbull.
You can also check a Veteran-Owned Business Directory or search online to find a veteran-owned business near you, in order to shop or hire impactfully.
Help out at a local VA
There are Department of Veterans Affairs locations around the country that look for volunteers and donations throughout the year. Volunteers can take on all sorts of jobs from escorting veterans to various engagements to baking cookies. In addition to monetary donations, the VA also accepts specific items like personal care items, kitchen supplies or books.
Donate airline miles
Another donation option that might be less obvious: See if your airline's rewards program allows customers to donate unused miles to help support veterans in need. Through Delta’s SkyWish program, customers can give her their miles to “Ill or wounded service members and veterans undergoing medical treatment or reuniting with their families,” per the airline’s website. Alaska Airlines promotes a similar program on their site through the Fisher House Foundation, who according to their website, also partners with Delta, Frontier and United.
Donate to organizations that help veterans and their families
There are several organizations around the country that support veterans and their families all year long. One of those organizations is country star Zac Brown’s Camp Southern Ground which offers veteran support programs called Warrior Week and Warrior PATHH which are both provided at no cost. Warrior Week is a “12-month transition and wellbeing program that reminds veterans of who and what they are once they’ve hung up their uniform,” per the organization’s website, while Warrior PATHH is the nation’s first non-clinical program built to help combat veterans working through PTSD, depression, anxiety and/or stress and develop“ lifelong Posttraumatic Growth (PTG)”
Additionally, you can search Charity Navigator for a list of vetted and highly-rated charities serving the various needs of veterans and donate accordingly. Don't forget to see if your company has a charitable match program to double your impact.
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