9 Ways You Can Help Veterans This Memorial Day
The HealthCentral Editorial Team Apr 3, 2012 (updated Sep 27, 2013)
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This Memorial Day, many people pause to remember our veterans and the sacrifices they’ve made for our country and our freedom. Fortunately, there are many organizations that have made it possible to show your gratitude to our soldiers and their families. In this slideshow, we offer 9 simple ways you can remember veterans, support wounded service members, and help military families.
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Disabled American Veterans
Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization that works to ensure medical care and benefits for veterans, has a convenient way to donate to help support their mission. On your cell phone, text the word "DAV" to 90999 and you will donate $5 to Disabled American Veterans. Each $5 donation will be added to your next mobile phone bill.
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Vietnam Veterans of America
The Vietnam Veterans of America is a national organization primarlly concerned with serving the needs of veterans of the Vietnam war era. One method of fundraising for VVA is through the resale of donated items through qualified retailers. To this end, VVA volunteers will pick up your donations of clothing and household items at your home, "rain or shine." This link will take you to a map where you can find donation centers or arrange for a pick up.
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Veterans of Foreign Wars
Veterans of Foreign Wars is one of the oldest veterans organizations in the country, tracing its roots all the way back to 1899. The VFW is a strong advocate for our veterans, having been instrumental in such moves as the creation of the Veterans Administration and the GI Bill, as well as the fight for compensation for veterans suffering from Agent Orange exposure and Gulf War Syndrome. Click here to donate to this organization's important work.
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Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is a "24/7 tragedy assistance resource for anyone who has suffered the loss of a military loved one, regardless of the relationship to the deceased or the circumstance of the death." TAPS offers such services as peer-based emotional support, crisis intervention, and grief and trauma resources. Click here to donate to help people who've lost loved ones due to service in our nation's conflicts.
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The Hero Miles Program
For many military families, making it across the country or across the world to get to a loved one's bedside is an insurmountable financial burden. The Hero Miles Program lets you donate your own frequent flier miles to assist service members and their families. So far, they've provided more than 22,000 tickets to soldiers and their families. For more information on how to donate your own airline miles, click here.
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Cell Phones for Soldiers
Give a soldier the gift of hearing a loved one's voice by donating your old cellphone to Cell Phones for Soldiers. This program, started in 2004 by a 13-year-old girl, recycles used cell phones and uses the money to distribute prepaid calling cards to soldiers around the globe. From the site, you can print a paid shipping label to send your phone, or you can use Paypal to donate the cost of a phone call.
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Wounded Warrior Project
Thankfully, medical advances have enabled many service members to survive even catastrophic injuries. But they still very much need our help. For a $150 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, you can send a backpack filled with needed clothing made by Under Armour to a wounded warrior overseas. Order a backpack here.
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Guardian Angels for Soldiers' Pets
Soldiers who are deployed often leave four-legged friends behind. The Guardian Angels for Soldiers' Pets program asks members of the public to foster dogs, cats, and other pets so they can be reunited with their owners once they've returned. The service also fosters animals for veterans who are temporarily unable to provide a home for their companion. You can foster an animal, donate to the cause, or help promote the organization here.
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Hang Tough 6-6-44
If you're a fan of the HBO series Band of Brothers, you will remember Maj. Dick Winters and the men of Easy Company. Jordan Brown is selling green wristbands inscribed with Winters' favorite saying "Hang Tough" in order to raise money for a statue in St. Marie Du-Mont, Normandy, France to commemorate the men of the D-Day Invasion. Click here to order a wristband for a minimum $1 donation.