With military wives, past and present, among our staff, some of us have experienced the outstanding and essential benefits of military charities firsthand. So while Memorial Day is specifically about honoring our fallen soldiers, we think that finding ways to support our living vets and still-deployed troops is a wonderful way to do something positive in memory of those who have come before them.
It’s also a great way to get kids involved, and to remind them that today is about more than barbecues and a day off from school.
So in honor of Memorial Day, we’ve put together some worthy, easy ways to help our troops any day of the year at all. We hope you take a minute to get to know these initiatives and see just what speaks to you.
And hey, take a minute to read up on the real story of how Memorial Day got started on the Live Science blog, or check out the short article about The Meaning of Memorial Day on Time for Kids. Thanks to tech, it won’t take long at all.
1. Support a Worthy Cause Dedicated to Vets and Deployed Troops
You’ll find no shortage of amazing military charities online that could really use your donations.
*Team Rubicon is a longtime favorite of ours, putting veterans’ own skills to work to help people in need — think, Veterans Without Borders and you get the idea. Check out their current operations helping those in Alberta, Canada affected by wildfires; and their medical aid and training programs in Greece and Sierra Leone.
*Fisher House Foundation is another terrific non-profit providing military and veteran families with comfort homes at no cost, so their families have a nice place to stay while a loved one is receiving treatment.
*Homes for Our Troops (above) is an absolutely amazing charity honors that helps build and provide homes for vets and their families. Check out the photo galleries and you’ll be as moved as we are, seeing so many vets who can now live more independently in a home made just for their needs, at absolutely no cost to them.
*Operation Homefront meets so many needs for military families, from its providing food and financial assistance, to things you don’t always consider, like offering auto and home repair. Take a peek at the families currently in need, then make your donation online.
2. Send a Care Package to Support Our Troops
Each year, Operation Gratitude has been a favorite charity of all of ours. They help to provide support for military families by sending 100,000 or more care packages to service members deployed to hostile regions as well as supporting their children who have stayed behind.
If putting together your own care package feels like too much, you can simply send them an online donation. The financial support helps their volunteers assemble and ship packages containing snacks, entertainment, and personal letters of thanks that may mean more than everything else combined.
3. Donate Old Gadgets to Support Our Troops
If you’ve got old but functional mobile phones or tablets tucked into cabinets and drawers, put them to good use. In our list of 4 things to do with an old iPad, we include organizations like iPads for Soldiers (shown here), which gets them into the hands of our soldiers who really need them.
It’s not just about accessing the internet, keeping up with their reading, and staying in touch with family back home — though those aspects are wildly important. iPads are actually a key element in recovery for those who are wounded (as I recently learned spending time in a rehab hospital with a family member of my own), or suffering from mental health issues.
Along with apps that specifically help those with brain injuries and touch-screen technology that is an essential part of OT, there are tons of effective post-trauma apps just for veterans, like the Pentagon-created PTSD Coach. iPads for Soldiers makes sure technology like this gets into the hands of those who really benefit from them.
4. Run a Race in Support of our Troops
These days, you can run for more than just a personal best. You can raise money for a favorite military charity and they’ve all got fantastic websites and connection to other tech platforms to make it easy. The best known way to do this might be the grueling Tough Mudder, which is connected to Crowdrise so you can raise money for any charity at all; however with Wounded Warriors/Canada as their own featured charity, they’ll donate for every dollar you raise right to them.
We’re so thankful for the service our past and present military personnel have provided for our country. Happy Memorial Day!
top photo DVIDSHUB via flickr cc license