How to help veterans in need

Millions of men and women serve in the military and make the sacrifices that such service requires. Risking their lives to serve their countries, veterans sometimes endure mental and physical trauma, returning home to face uphill battles as they deal with their injuries.

Many veterans in need are not just in need of medical attention. Learning that their efforts and sacrifices are recognized and appreciated by the ordinary citizens they protect can make a world of difference to veterans as they recover from their injuries. Men, women and children who want to help veterans in need can do so in various ways.

• Visit a veterans hospital. Contact a local veterans’ hospital to inquire about their volunteer programs. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs notes that each year more than 75,000 volunteers spend more than 11 million hours in service to America’s veterans. Visiting veterans at the hospital to hear their stories can lift their spirits and aid in their recoveries. In addition, veterans’ hospitals may have volunteer opportunities that make it easier for hospitals to operate at optimal capacity.

• Help a neighbor. Unfortunately, many veterans return home with injuries that affect their ability to make it through a typical day without assistance. Disabled veterans may be unable to do their own grocery shopping or maintain their homes. If a neighbor or nearby veteran is facing such hurdles, offer to do his or her shopping or mow his or her lawn. Such tasks won’t take much time but can make a world of difference to veterans.

• Offer professional services free of charge. Professionals who want to help veterans can offer their services free of charge. Accountants can offer to prepare veterans’ tax returns for free, while attorneys can provide legal advice to veterans who need it. Contractors can help disabled veterans by offering to make alterations to their homes for free or at cost.

• Employ social media to help local veterans. Many people who want to help local veterans might not be able to do so more than one day per week. But some veterans may require daily assistance. Men and women can start a locally-based Facebook group for fellow members of their community who want to pitch in to help local veterans. Such a group can make it easier to share information and arrange help for veterans in need.

Many veterans return home from serving overseas in need of help. Offering such help can improve veterans’ lives while letting them know their efforts and sacrifices are appreciated.

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