Below are organizations working to support and help active-duty service members and veterans. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.
Volunteer Your Time
Military families dealing with deployment or settling into a new home have many needs that can be met by volunteers who may be able to babysit, mow the lawn, help with errands, locate a handyman or prepare a meal. Volunteers can also be a resource to connect military families with others in the community who can provide support.
Here are several organizations that offer volunteering opportunities. If you don’t have time, you can also pledge service hours or send messages of thanks to soldiers.
Visit an Injured Soldier
In an interview with NPR, Captain Nate Rawlings mentioned that there are “thousands of veterans of the current operations and of other wars who do not have families or many visitors.” He recommends stopping by the local VA hospital and asking if there is a veteran who hasn’t received any visitors and visiting with him or her.
Other Indexes and Organizations
Military.com’s Guide to Supporting Our Troops
Want to show deployed soldiers your support and thank them for their service? This resource list offers links to charitable organizations help send gifts, cards, and care packages to our troops. You can donate books, cellphones, food and DVDs, among other items. Find soldiers who don’t get a lot of packages and send them one via Any Soldier.
Military Families United
This organization has several programs that support military families including Camp Desert Kids, which helps children deal with the stress of deployment by helping them conceptualize what their mom or dad is doing overseas. By offering “games, maps, fun facts, cultural activities, crafts, regional food and drink, and even the chance to dress up like Mom or Dad in full camouflage gear, Camp Desert Kids works to reduce the unknown in our military children’s lives.”
This nonprofit organization provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded veterans. They specialize in helping soldiers make the transition from combat to civilian life.
This organization has sent over 800,000 care packages filled with food, entertainment items like DVD and books, and personal letters of appreciation to troops deployed in the battlefield, to their children at home and to wounded warriors recuperating in hospitals stateside or in the field.
Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is an organization whose mission is to honor and empower wounded veterans. They run programs that help veterans to continue their education, find jobs, maximize their rehabilitation and pursue life goals without the barriers or stigmas associated with mental health issues.