5 Ways You Can Give Back to Veterans, Active Duty and Military Families

Article written by Kelli Brewer at info@deploycare.org for Hoodlm.org

Searching for the perfect way to support veterans, service members, and their families? You’re not alone. The majority of Americans would like to help these underserved communities live better lives. Still, many Americans are not sure how to best do so, which is why we’ve come up with a few ideas for giving back to those who have served in the military.

Turn Your Passion for Veterans Into a Thriving Career

If helping veterans is a true passion, why not channel that positive energy into a career? There are so many ways you can get paid to make the lives of veterans easier, so start researching career possibilities that might appeal to you. One example of a profession that provides needed assistance to veterans, as well as those in active duty, is social work. Social workers can help veterans with the transition into civilian life, but they can also supply needed support for families dealing with unique military challenges. You may need to complete a Master of Social Work, which you can do online, that will include coursework and 900 to 1,200 hours of work in the field. If social work is not your calling, you can also consider pursuing an administrative or health career that will help fill needed VA health system vacancies.        

Support Organizations That Actually Support Veterans

You don’t need to change careers in order to give support to veterans. In fact, one of the easiest ways you can give back to this community is to provide financial support to organizations that specialize in helping veterans. This can be more of a challenge than it seems, however, since there are so many veteran scams looking to profit from people’s concern for the military. If you are approached or solicited by a supposed veterans charity that demands an immediate donation, insists upon only collecting cash, or offers you sweepstakes entries for your contribution, chances are that charity is not a real non-profit. So, if you are unfamiliar with veteran organizations, be sure to research charities online before you make a donation. You can also use this list of approved veterans charities to guide your contributions.

Help a Veteran with Medicare

Medicare is a complicated process, and this is especially true for veterans who may also receive health care through the VA. And when you throw a Medicare Supplement into the mix, this might cause some veterans to become confused about what, precisely, their coverage handles and what it doesn’t. So, take one afternoon (or two!) on a weekend and sit down with them to go through their healthcare policies to determine what they have and what they might need. If they receive Medicare and VA benefits, but they would like more coverage, determine if they could benefit from Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan F and Plan G, which cover the majority of the nine Medicare costs that Medicare Supplement Insurance plans will address. Fortunately, you can find many resources online that will provide much of the information you need.

Show Compassion for Families of Active Duty Military

When civilians think about helping veterans and the military, they tend to forget about the families of those individuals. You can change this pattern by making an effort to better understand military spouses and families. First, remember that military families are just as diverse as other families, so don’t make assumptions about their lifestyle. Instead, know that these families face some common challenges, such as transitioning careers and dealing with deployments, and also realize that you can play a role in making their lives easier. If you want to support military families, welcome them into your schools and communities, and provide some added support during deployments. You can also show your support by simply remembering to thank military families for their contributions, too!

Provide Needed Help to Deployed Active Duty Personnel

Being far from the comforts of home can be difficult during deployment. You can help change that for deployed men and women by sending care packages overseas. One non-profit, Any Soldier, makes this show of support extremely easy for civilians. You can select from any branch of service you like, and then decide whether you want to send regular care packages or if you just want to send a letter to a soldier deployed abroad. Some common care package items requested by soldiers include candies, jerky, toiletries, and crossword puzzle books.

Another way you can support deployed military members is to offer foster care for their furry family members. Pets can be a source of needed companionship and stress relief for active duty personnel, so providing safe care during deployment can be a real lifesaver for pet owners.

Helping active duty military and veterans can be as simple as expressing your gratitude or as monumental as shifting your career. Any help or support you provide to these communities will be well appreciated. So, feel good about whatever good you can do for veterans, the military, and the families that support them.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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