How to Make an Impact on July 4th

By Tonka Dobreva 06.30.2016 interact

Happy Birthday, America!

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, marking America’s independence from Great Britain. We light fireworks, barbecue, attend baseball games, hold picnics and watch parades. But we must not forget the brave men and women who fought for America’s freedom, and continue to fight for the country that they love.  So on this Fourth of July, why not take a moment to volunteer to help a veteran, or express your gratitude for their service.

  1. Give a Veteran a Ride. With some veterans unable to operate a vehicle due to war injuries, if you hold a license, you can volunteer to give them a lift through the Drive a Van organization, helping veterans accomplish tasks such as grocery shopping, hospital visits or trips to their local Veteran’s Affair office. And if you aren’t old enough to drive, you can volunteer at a hospital working directly with a veteran patient, getting coffee or simply serving as their companion. And, your help doesn’t go unnoticed. DAV offers scholarships and incentives to volunteers. Check out DAV’s website for more information.
  2. Help Homeless Veterans off the Street.  After returning from military service, many veterans find themselves unable to secure work and a place to live, so they end up homeless. To help combat this problem, the Department of Veteran Affairs holds “stand down” programs across many states which, for one to three days, provide food, shelter, clothing, health care and more to the veterans. So visit VA’s homeless events page to find an upcoming “stand down” in your area.
  3. Send a Care Package. Being away from the country and the people you love is never easy. So why not send a veteran a care package filled with items not readily available to them? Items can include hygiene products (deodorants, bottles of shampoo), socks, snacks, canned soups or baby wipes. A list of more needed products can be found at thehugsproject.com. And if you would like to volunteer putting together care packages, head to operationgratitude.com for the assembly schedule at a station near you.
  4. Listen. Sometimes all we need is someone to listen to us. Well, the same goes for a veteran. With many stories left untold of their lives at war, why not lend a much needed ear. If you have family members whom are veterans or know someone who does, take this Fourth of July to listen to their stories, write them down, or even submit them to the Veterans History Project.
  5. Just say “Thank you.” Two simple words that can go a long way in making a veteran feel appreciated.

Tell us in the comments section below what you are doing to make an impact this July 4th.

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