They are no longer on active duty, but the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces deserve praise — and, if needed, a helping hand. Ways to salute our veterans run the gamut, from simple expressions that cost only your time to monetary donations to a cause that in most cases are tax-deductible. Here are ways you can support military veterans.
Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation
Founded in 2002, the foundation provides college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. You can participate in the #DropAndGiveMe10 Challenge by posting a video of yourself doing push-ups in honor of fallen patriots and donating some amount to the foundation for every successful push-up — and then challenge three others to do the same. Or you can contribute panels to a charity knitting/crocheting project to raise awareness of the foundation's mission.
Disabled American Veterans
Services offered to disabled veterans and their families since 1920 include help with disability assistance, VA pensions and job programs. While donations and gifts are needed, you can also help by volunteering at Veterans Affairs hospitals or serving as a driver to transport vets to their medical appointments.
Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House operates a network of homes at major military and VA medical centers nationwide where military and veterans’ families can stay for free while a loved one is receiving medical treatment. It also operates a Hero Miles program and a Hotels for Heroes program that accept donated frequent flier airline miles and hotel points to help veterans’ family members travel to their bedside and stay at a hotel for free.
Hire Heroes USA
Hire Heroes USA provides job training for veterans from other vets who have business experience. If you own a business, you can become an employment partner. Or you can volunteer to assist with mock interviews, fundraising, career counseling or outreach to veterans and their spouses.
Homes for Our Troops
Started in February 2004, this nonprofit organization builds and adapts homes nationwide for servicemen and servicewomen who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq with disabilities. The site seeks monetary donations, as well as contributions of land, to expand the number of the handful of projects under way. Organizers work with contractors, home material manufacturers and corporate partners to raise funds and provide materials for building projects.
Honor Flight Network
The nonprofit organization flies veterans to Washington for free so that they can visit memorials built in their honor. Top priority is given to World War II survivors, along with veterans who may be terminally ill. You can volunteer to escort the vets on the flight or greet them at airport departures and arrivals.
Hope for the Warriors
Military wives founded this organization in 2006 to enhance the quality of life for Iraq and Afghanistan service members who sustained physical and psychological wounds. The organization provides comprehensive support programs for veterans, service members and military families that focus on career transition and education, health and wellness counseling, and community-building initiatives.
This organization says thank you to veterans, wounded warriors and their caregivers as well as active-duty personnel by sending care packages that include snacks, hygiene supplies and handmade items. You can also join its letter-writing campaign, expressing gratitude to veterans for their service.
VA Voluntary Service
Founded in 1946, the VAVS provides for our nation’s veterans while they undergo care at VA facilities. Volunteers are needed to serve as drivers and companions and to assist staff with end-of-life care programs and foster care and in hospital wards, nursing homes and veteran outreach centers.
Veterans Support Organization
Since 2001, the Florida-based nonprofit has provided employment and financial assistance to leading veterans support agencies. It helps vets at various stages of transitioning out of military service.