We are facing an increase in families needing assistance, monetary and food donations are dwindling, and a reduction in volunteers. Learn how you can help.
How to Give Back to Those Who Serve Our Country
By: Guest Blogger Kelli Brewer
Are you looking for ways to assist our service members, veterans, and their families? Sometimes, it’s hard to know the best ways to show gratitude or offer support. As such, we’ve pulled together some of the top opportunities for helping out those who offered everything for our country and letting them know they are appreciated.
Assistance for Seniors
When your 65th birthday rolls around, it’s time to enroll in Medicare. Many veterans are surprised to find that even if they receive health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, they are still eligible for Medicare. CNBC points out that using both Medicare and VA health careexpands veterans’ choices, allowing them to visit more medical facilities and doctors. With that in mind, if you know older veterans, make sure they are aware of Medicare enrollment periods. Additionally, exploring all their options means they can get the best possible care. For example, Humana offers Medicare Advantage plansthat help with things like hearing exams, vision care, and prescription drugs. There is even coverage for the Silver Sneakersprogram, which provides access to 16,000 fitness centers nationwide.
Hire a Veteran
Once they complete service, many veterans search for employment in the civilian world, and as Military.com points out, there are special tax breaksfor employers who hire veterans. If you or someone you know is in a position to hire a veteran, check out websitesthat facilitate the connection between veterans seeking employment and potential employers. This is a wonderful chance to help both the employer and a veteran, all in one fell swoop!
Support Those Currently Serving
You might feel there isn’t much you can do to assist those serving in our military, especially if they are deployed. However, one of the best ways you can help is to let them know they are appreciated. Good, old-fashioned snail mail is a great way to reach out with those on duty, both here and abroad. You can write a letter, send a card, or have your kids send artwork.
Another great option is putting together a care package. You can assemble some entertaining diversions, such as books, movies, or cards; non-perishable snacks like sunflower seeds and jerky; or include personal items, such as pain relief creams, body wash, and lip balm. For stateside military, consider baking some homemade goodies, like quick bread, brownies, or candy. You can use a USPS military care kitto make boxing things up a breeze, and you can top it off by shippingvia US Wings, who will handle packages to anyone on active-duty for free.
If electronics are more your style, there are websitesto facilitate connecting with military personnel in many parts of the world. Along those same lines, Sandboxx offers an appdesigned to reach out to service men and women for free.
Don’t Forget Those at Home
Helping service men and women doesn’t end with those directly in service. Another valuable support is caring for their loved ones. If you know someone who is a military spouse, bear in mind that person is flying solo much of the time. That means things like housekeeping and childcare are falling solely on their shoulders, and it can be a lonely, challenging situation. Lend a hand in a practical way, like offering to carpool, babysitting, or helping with yard work.
Another idea is to deliver a meal. Think about putting together a casserole that can be heated when it’s convenient, then deliver it in a disposable container so it doesn’t need to be returned to you, and there are no dishes to wash. And of course, spending a little time together can help relieve the loneliness. Sit down for a half hour or so, chatting and cutting up. It’s a great stress reliever and a warm way to show you care.
Those who serve our country deserve knowing they are appreciated. So, look for ways to express your gratitude and support for our military personnel, veterans, and their families. They offered up their lives for our freedom; it’s the least we can do.