America’s active-duty military, including guard and reserve units, number roughly one million strong. Combined with the more than 23 million living U.S. veterans and their families, they comprise tens of millions of fellow Americans that deserve our gratitude and need our support.
In addition to the help provided by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, numerous organizations exist to assist the active-duty military, veterans and their families. Many of these offer a broad spectrum of services and others focus on specialized areas of need. Some of these valuable providers need volunteer support while others are best supported with financial contributions. The most important choice is to get involved and be engaged, and to support the U.S. military community that has sacrificed so much.
Please review the wide range of support and service organizations listed below, and reach out to see how you can take action to assist our active duty military, veterans and their families in solving the unique challenges they face. As a simple – yet powerful – starting point, take a moment to say hello to the uniformed service members and veterans that you meet, and thank them for their service. They will appreciate it, more than you may know.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has many ways to volunteer time or donate funds to help our nation’s veterans including the Volunteer Transportation Network, Welcome Home Events, Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, National Cemeteries Volunteer, National Salute to Veteran Patients and Student Volunteer Program initiatives.
Committed to improving the lives of military families, Blue Star Families’ wide range of programs include career development for military spouses, fun and educational events for children, caregiver support, and most importantly, the chance to build community with other military families. Volunteer to build or support a chapter in your area.
Conducting complex and dangerous frontline combat missions around the world, United States Special Operations Forces develop high-level skills in leadership team building, problem solving, and negotiation. Yet veterans face difficulty transitioning these skills in a corporate work environment. YGN provides mentoring and career placement programs to take these veterans "from the battlefield to the boardroom." Help by becoming a YGN mentor or business partner.
This organization seeks to lift morale by sending individually addressed letters and care packages to deployed service members, veterans, the wounded and their caregivers.
DAV builds better lives for America's disabled veterans through their benefits assistance and voluntary service programs. You can volunteer to drive a van for the initiative that provides free transportation to men and women who can't travel to VA medical facilities on their own.
Professional chaplains share a mission of alleviating the emotional, physical, spiritual and social distresses of daily life. Accepting without judgment all religions and beliefs, chaplains seek to help servicemen and women, veterans, and their friends, families and caregivers find and draw upon spiritual strengths through counseling and mental health assistance.