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It’s no secret that military families face challenges that civilians can’t fathom. The incredible resilience and sacrifice of these men and women are worthy of acclaim, and sometimes cards and care packages don’t feel like enough to say thanks. As the U.S. military scales back its missions overseas, grateful supporters are looking for new ways to show love to the troops, and there is no shortage of needs to meet in the military community. The Community Pay it Forward Fundraising Program presents the following tips to assist the military families in your area.
Hiring veterans can be a great way to support those who have served our country and also benefit your business. Veterans are typically highly disciplined and motivated employees who work hard to achieve their goals. They also tend to be excellent communicators and team players, thanks to their military training. In addition, veterans often have a wealth of experience in leadership and management, which can be a valuable asset in any business. And because they are accustomed to working in high-pressure situations, they can be an excellent addition to any workplace.
Donate to Your Local Food Bank
Members of the U.S. military volunteer to make sacrifices for the sake of freedom, but it’s difficult for any American to believe that they would sign up to be hungry. However, according to the latest Feeding America data, nearly 160,000 active-duty military members and their families struggle with food insecurity. Many factors contribute to this tough reality, including low pay in the junior ranks, military spouse employment difficulties and the cost of frequent moves. Until this crisis is addressed at the highest levels, these military families rely on charity and SNAP assistance. If you’re able to give back, donating and volunteering at your local nonprofit goes a long way.
Learn About Veteran Housing Resources
One of the challenges of transitioning to civilian life after military service is finding affordable housing. Guaranteed VA home loans allow eligible members to purchase a primary residence without putting any money down or having to purchase private mortgage insurance. Many service members know about their Department of Veterans Affairs benefits already, but what they may not realize is that housing assistance extends to surviving spouses of deceased service members and members of the National Guard. If you know a veteran who could use some help finding out more about loan options, point them toward the VA.
Consider the Needs of Military Kids
Children of service members often lead dynamic lives. Many of them travel the world and do things other kids never get to do, like eating Belgian waffles in Belgium or climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan. However, though they are great kids with bright futures, they face unique hardships. They leave their friends behind every few years, and they may experience long periods of time without one or both (if Mom and Dad are both service members) parents. Several common challenges faced by military children include:
- Struggling relationships
- Behavior problems
- Declining school performance
- Self-esteem issues
You can help military children build resilience by making sure they feel supported and included in your community. If you recognize signs of distress in a child that requires specialized attention, refer kids and parents to a Military & Family Life Counselor that can give them valuable coping tools.
Donate to Nonprofit Veteran Causes
If you live near a military base, there’s a good chance your community is full of veterans and their families. Since the return of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the physical, mental and emotional needs of these heroes have surfaced, prompting the start of many valuable nonprofit organizations that seek to enhance the veteran experience. A quick Google search for veteran associations returns numerous results for foundations like Healing Wave Aquatics or the Motorcycle Relief Project that use your donations to care for vets. If you can’t find an organization that meets your expectations, you can always start your own nonprofit for veterans.
In moments when saying “thank you for your service” isn’t enough, understanding the challenges of service members, veterans and military families can help you make impactful contributions to the health and success of those who serve.