America devotes two national holidays annually to the recognition of military service, yet American vets deserve our gratitude and support 365 days a year. Here are 10 ways to lend your support—many won’t cost a penny!
Offer your time
Even if you can’t spare much money, volunteering is the gift that gives back. It can be incredibly fulfilling to extend your gratitude to those who deserve it most, and it can fill your heart at the same time. Consider volunteering for organizations that assist veterans such as Disabled American Veterans (a nonprofit that offers vets free transportation to VA medical facilities), or Canine Companions for Independence (a nonprofit organization that provides therapy dogs to veterans). Here are more veteran-related organizations worthy of your time and energy.
Shop for good
Why not pay it forward with the way you shop? Several businesses are finding ways to support veterans by offering post-deployment job opportunities, employment for military spouses, and remaining committed to hiring and retaining veteran employees. Businesses such as Walmart, Home Depot, Hilton hotels, and StateFarm Insurance, are among those that made Business Insider‘s list of the 100 most military-friendly companies in America. The next time you find yourself in need of a hotel room, a credit card, or anything else, check the list to see if the business you’ll be using made the cut—it’s one easy way to make your dollar count even more. These are the 10 nicest ways people have said “thank you” to veterans.
Support worthy causes
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If donating financially is more your speed, there is no shortage of organizations that can use your support. Worthy organizations include Hope for the Warriors (founded by military wives for post–9/11 service members bearing psychological and physical wounds), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (supporting the 2.4 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan for their lifetime after deployment), The Gary Sinise Foundation (led by celebrity Gary Sinise with a mission to create unique and effective programs that serve veterans and their families in a variety of ways), and Wounded Warriors Family Support (with the mission of supporting the family of those injured or killed in combat situations). Here’s a more extensive list of charities that support veterans. These are 30 places that offer vets free meals on Veterans Day.