During a season meant to spread joy and give to others, there are countless ways we can give back to those who sacrificed so much for our country.
The holidays are a perfect time for us to show our appreciation and gratitude to our nation’s Veterans. During a season meant to spread joy and give to others, there are countless ways we can give back to those who sacrificed so much for our country.
Show your appreciation this holiday season by volunteering at an event, donating your time, sending a monetary gift – or finding another way to give that works best for you.
How Can I Give Back to Veterans?
Start by thinking about how you want to give back to our nation’s Veterans. Maybe you have some additional time off over the holidays, so you can volunteer at a specific event. Or maybe you’re extra busy during the holidays and would rather donate money to an organization doing good work. Or maybe you and your family have some extra time at home together that you can use to create care packages or write cards. Once you have an idea of what you’d like to do, check out the following suggestions for giving back:
- Donate money to an organization that works on behalf of Veterans. Many organizations rely on monetary donations to carry out the work they do. You could ask your friends and family to donate on your behalf instead of buying gifts this year.
- Send holiday cards or care packages. This could become a new family tradition or something you ask others to help with. Many Veterans spend the holidays away from family and friends, either in hospitals, nursing homes or care facilities. Others may just be lonely during the holidays. Spread holiday cheer with handwritten notes or packages full of helpful and heartfelt items.
- Volunteer to drive Veterans to medical appointments. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has opportunities for you through the Volunteer Transportation Network to help Veterans get to and from important medical appointments.
- Contact socially isolated Veterans through phone calls. For many people, the holidays can be a lonely time. Give a listening ear and a friendly voice to socially isolated Veterans through weekly phone calls. Check out VA’s Compassionate Contact Corps to get started.
- Help a Veteran you know personally. Many of us know Veterans within our own communities. Think about a way to show that Veteran your appreciation this holiday season. Ask yourself – What does this Veteran need most? Is it a phone call? Help with weekly errands? A stocked pantry?
- Find a volunteer opportunity that fits your skill set. Are you good at sewing? Knit a blanket for a care facility. Do you love to cook? Volunteer to make a holiday meal for a Veteran. Use your skills to give back in a unique and personalized way.
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter. According to data from VA in 2020, more than 33,000 Veterans experienced homelessness. By volunteering your time at a homeless shelter, you can help some of our nation’s most vulnerable people.
What Organizations Can I Support?
There are a number of organizations all across the country dedicated to working on behalf of our nation’s Veterans – many more than those listed here. Explore the organizations below to get started, search for volunteer opportunities in your local community and find what works best for you!
- VA’s Center for Development and Civic Engagement offers several ways for you to give back to our nation’s Veterans, including becoming a Volunteer Transportation Network driver, greeting Veterans at the main entrance of VA, contacting socially isolated Veterans through phone calls and much more.
- The American Red Cross is always looking for volunteers to support communities all across our country. The Holidays for Heroes program offers a variety of activities that thank and recognize members of the military and Veterans living in our communities.
- The American Legion offers a number of volunteer opportunities – from helping out at special events to companion therapy. Check out this American Legion volunteer page for more information.
- The USO welcomes volunteers to help Service members and their families feel at home at USO locations around the world. Common duties include assisting with center activities and programs, supporting staff members and more. Check out this volunteer page or download the volunteering app for more information.
- Operation Gratitude wants to be sure that everyone who serves feels our gratitude with care packages and letters sent to Veterans, military members and first responders. Learn how you can help fulfill their mission.
- Holiday Stockings for Heroes is a program run by Soldiers’ Angels that sends stuffed holiday stockings to deployed troops, military bases and Veterans in VA hospitals. Check out how you can volunteer to collect items and stuff stockings.
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV) offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities to assist Veterans, including transporting Veterans to and from VA medical appointments, helping at a VA facility and more.
- TriWest Healthcare Alliance (TriWest) has made giving back to Veteran and military communities a cornerstone of the company. TriWest provides generous support to several organizations whose primary mission is to support and strengthen the Veteran community. Check out TriWest’s community partners page for more ideas on many of the organizations dedicated to serving our nation’s heroes.
The holiday season is a great time to show our appreciation to our nation’s Veterans. Whether it’s your time, a monetary donation or something else that works best for you, commit to give back this holiday season. Our Veterans deserve it!