Whether you read it on the Internet, hear it on the radio, or see it on TV, people from all walks of life are saying they support veterans. However, actions speak louder than words and saying you support veterans is different from actually going out there and doing it – and making a difference.
If you would like to show gratitude for the sacrifices made and support veterans, there are many ways to make it happen. Sometimes even a small gesture can have a big impact. Our veterans have many needs and challenges because of their military service, and they can use support and assistance in a variety of ways that may not always be obvious.
Show you Support Veterans by Providing Transportation
One way to support veterans in your local area is to provide necessary transportation so that veterans can get to medical and mental health treatment appointments. The VA has a volunteer transportation network that allows volunteers to donate their time and/or the use of their vehicle for veterans in need. Donated vehicles may also be used or accepted by the program.
Visit Wounded Vets in a Nearby VA Facility
Another great way to show that you support veterans is to pay a visit to wounded vets at a VA facility near you. These wounded veterans may not have many visitors to brighten their day. Once you find the nearest VA facility, contact the staff and find out if you can arrange a visit. The staff may be able to identify veterans who would benefit the most from a visit.
Say Thank You and Mean It
One of the easiest ways to support veterans is a simple thank you, as long as it is heartfelt and sincere. A simple act of gratitude for everything that the veteran faced and gave up seems like such a small thing, but it is something that American veterans do not hear as often as they should. These two words can brighten even a bad day for a veteran because you acknowledge their service.
In particular, saying, “Welcome home. Thank you for your service” to Vietnam veterans can have a huge emotional impact on them, since Vietnam era veterans did not experience even the lip-service support from American society that today’s veterans receive.
Fight Homelessness, Eviction, and Foreclosure among Veterans
If you support veterans then you realize that many veterans face foreclosure, eviction, and homelessness. You can volunteer with the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, donate your time and effort to Homes for Our Troops, or even provide financial assistance to veteran organizations to prevent the eviction of a military family.
Perform Home Repairs or Household Chores for a Veteran in Need
One terrific way to support veterans is to perform home repairs or household chores for a veteran in need. Many veterans in your area may need help with household chores or home repairs because of a disability, a severe injury, or even a lack of financial resources. When you help out in this way, you will gain an incredible sense of satisfaction while helping repay a veteran who deserves it.
Donate your Time to a Veteran Organization
There are other ways that you can support veterans even if you do not have special skills or a lot of knowledge in home repair. You can volunteer with a veteran organization and make a difference. These organizations depend on volunteers to keep costs down. Clerical work, answering phones, organizing, and stepping in to help with menial work can make an enormous difference. The National Veteran Foundation welcomes volunteers of all ages and skill levels at our offices in Los Angeles.
Volunteer your Services to Help Vets in Need
If you do have special skills that you can offer, whether these are IT skills, tax preparation training, or medical training, then you can support veterans by offering your skills free of charge. You will be able to use your knowledge and training to help veterans who need these skills right now and who may have limited financial resources to pay for this type of assistance.
Spend Time with a Vet and Take the Time to Listen
One way that you can give something back to a veteran who was willing to sacrifice everything is to spend time with them and really listen to them. Many veterans end up socially isolated and this can have a negative effect on their mental and physical health. Get to know veterans in your area and spend time with them so that they have social opportunities and do not end up isolated.
Provide Food for Veterans
Many veterans are hungry and a home cooked meal will provide them with much needed nutrition. Even vets that are not lacking food will benefit from a meal or a homemade batch of cookies. It shows them that someone cares. Contact your local church or veteran organization to see who might appreciate your culinary delights. Feed Our Vets is an organization that specializes in feeding hungry veteran families.
Visit a Vet with your Pet
It is a well-known fact that animals provide emotional and physical benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems.” Dogs are the most commonly used for therapy and service dogs. A well-behaved dog can receive certification and be able to bring some affection and calmness into a vet’s life.
Whether you support veterans with your time or donations, know that every little bit you do makes a difference. For more information on how you can help support veterans in your area, contact the NVF’s Lifeline for Vets at 888-777-4443 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Help keep our Lifeline for Vets standing strong. We are veterans helping veterans.