Memorial Day shouldn't be the only weekend we spend honoring veterans. After all, our military friends, family members, and strangers don't spend just three days serving us. Rather, their service frequently encompasses years spent overseas, and sometimes involves extreme emotional and physical hardships.
When they return from their service as veterans, they can bring with them new needs and challenges due to their service time. As soldiers they supported us, but as veterans, it's time we support them -- including in small, simple everyday ways to simply show we care.
Not sure how? Consider the following five easy ways you can support veterans in your everyday life:
5 Ways You Can Support Veterans in Your Everyday Life
- Donate frequent flier miles. If you travel often for business or pleasure, then you likely find yourself with a lot of frequent flier miles on your account. One great and incredibly simple way of helping veterans is to transfer those excess miles to a group like the Hero Miles Program. This unique program uses those donated miles to fly family members of injured or sick service members to their bedsides at military and VA hospitals around the country.
- Give a veteran a ride. The Disabled American Veterans Transportation Network offers free transportation to service members who are unable to travel to VA facilities on their own. However, this group is only able to offer this service because of volunteers who give their time driving those vans back and forth. Signing up as a driver and donating just a few hours every month can go a long way to ensuring veterans can safely and efficiently get the medical assistance they need - no matter how far they live from a VA facility.
- Donate extra meals. Love baking? Often find yourself cooking more than your family will eat? Consider donating extra baked goods or cooking a hot meal for veterans via the Feed Our Vets organization. Hot, nutritious meals and a package of homemade cookies can go a long way in improving the morale of hungry veterans and their families.
- Help build homes for the disabled. Some veterans don't come home as they left it, bringing with them lifelong disabilities that transform the way they live and work. One way of supporting veterans and helping them reintegrate into society is by helping build a home that enables them to live independently. Building Homes for Heroes is an outstanding organization that is always looking for volunteers, whether you're skilled in carpentry or not. You can spend just a day out of your month helping to build a specially modified homes to suit the specific needs of injured veterans. These homes are then gifted to veterans mortgage-free.
- Send a care package. Get the whole family involved in supporting veterans by sending a care package to either current military members or veterans and wounded warriors. Do this by signing up with Operation Gratitude, a group that has already sent over 1.5 million individually addressed care packages around the world. This is a particularly great way to get young children involved in a good-cause project and teach them about the sacrifices service members make for this country.
Know a Veteran with Specific Needs? Raise Funds Via dreamOway
While the above are great ways of supporting veterans through other organizations, if you know a specific veteran in need of help then you may need more specific funding, such as for a veteran neighbor in need of wheelchair ramp or friend needing help paying for emergency expenses. For these, dreamOway is a great crowdfunding solution. Learn more here.