Volunteering for Vets
Ways to Give Back to Our Military Veterans
May 29, 2014 by Mark Dye
Giving back to those who have served our nation is a great way to show appreciation for all they’ve done. Here are a few ways you can volunteer your time and energy to help our military veterans.
There are VA hospitals all across the nation, and due to federal budget cuts, they need volunteers now more than ever before. It could be something like helping with administrative tasks, or serving as a chauffer, driving veterans in need to and from their doctors’ appointments. Check out their website to find out how you can help.
This is a VA-run program that began in 1988 and assists homeless veterans in cities across the nation. It does so through events held throughout the year where veterans can get food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, and a number of services (i.e., employment or substance abuse counseling). Volunteers help by sorting clothing or other items, walking the vets around to gather necessities, or whatever else is needed that day. To find an upcoming Stand Down in your area, visit the Veteran Affairs (VA) website.
Volunteers of America
Finding where to volunteer can be difficult, and that is where Volunteers of America come in. They’ve been around a long time (since 1896) and can get you in touch with partner organizations, making it relatively easy to find the right opportunity for you. Visit their website to see where in your community you can volunteer.
United We Serve
Another program run by the federal government, United We Serve is a call for Americans to give back to their communities. Its website, www.Serve.gov, has a search feature where you can enter your interest (e.g., “military veterans”) and be connected with groups in need of volunteers. This can be a great choice if you’re not sure exactly what you want to do and would prefer to see a few options.
This organization has been there for the military for decades, doing everything from providing entertainment to assisting military families in need. They offer a wide variety of ways to help no matter where you live, and have a handy volunteer FAQ you can check out to see if it’s the right option for you. If you are interested, you can head over to their Volunteer Engagement Center to start the process.
There are dozens of organizations in practically every community that help veterans in one way or another. Groups like Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together often assist former military personnel, and many smaller, local groups have also been known to lend a hand specifically to those who serve. So look around your city or town and see what other opportunities are out there. There’s a great chance that they’re looking for volunteers and they’ll certainly appreciate your interest.
No matter how you choose give back, find a way to give a veteran a hand up. After all, they gave a great deal to our nation—it only makes sense that we give back to them.