How Civilians Young and Old Can Support Our Military
This article was guest-written by Kelli Brewer for Walkers for Warriors
As a civilian, it’s easy to forget about everything our nation’s military does to keep us safe and protect our freedoms. Outside of two national holidays a year, the sacrifices of service members, veterans, and their families stay largely behind the scenes. But whether you’re thinking about it or not, our military is hard at work 365 days a year.
If you want to support our nation’s military, don’t wait for Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day to do something. These are some ways people from young to old can support service members, veterans, and military families year-round.
Ways for Children to Support the Military
Kids are eager to make a positive difference in the world. Harness that enthusiasm and expand on school civics lessons by engaging children in volunteerism at home.
Write a thank you letter
Letters are a great way for kids to practice their writing, and hearing their name at mail call is certain to put a smile on a soldier’s face. Through Operation Gratitude, kids can write letters to deployed troops, veterans, and new recruits. Even if your little one isn’t writing yet, a drawing is a wonderful, age-appropriate way to show support.
Befriend a military child
Military children have it tough. Not only do military children have to face long separations from their parents — including the fear that their parent might not return — they also move and change schools frequently. This makes it difficult to form and maintain friendships. If there’s a new military child at school, kids can make a world of difference simply by being a friend.
How Busy Adults Can Do Good
Kids, career, and home take up a lot of your time and energy, but that doesn’t stop adults from doing good: Adults between the ages of 35 and 54 volunteer more than any other age group.
Donate your old car
This opportunity is perfect for busy adults, because not only does it make an impact, it also saves you time. By donating your unwanted vehicle to an organization like Vehicles for Veterans, you avoid the hassle of selling a car and fund important programs.
Become a social worker
If you don’t have time outside of work to support the military, why not make it your work? Pursuing a career in social work could be the perfect way to combine your professional drive with your desire to make an impact. Social workers address a wide range of veterans issues, including PTSD, homelessness, and unemployment. Most social work jobs require a Master’s of Social Work degree and 900 - 1,200 hours of field work. These programs are offered online and feature live sessions and flexible hours.
How to Give Back in Your Golden Years
On average, seniors have more financial stability and free time than their younger counterparts, making the senior years a great time to get involved in helping service members and veterans.
Guide a veteran through the healthcare system
Health insurance can be tricky to comprehend, so why not educate a senior veteran about the importance of staying up to date on their plan? They may be surprised to find that their plan has changed (which can happen each year) since they last reviewed it. If they need to switch to a new plan, you can help them research and compare options. For instance, Medigap Plans F and G come with more benefits than other Medigap plans, and they can help mitigate out-of-pocket costs that were likely higher for Medicare Parts A and B. However, the F and G plans aren’t quite the same — Plan F covers the Medicare Part B deductible, for example — so make sure the senior veteran is fully aware of each plan’s pros and cons.
Donate to a worthy cause
Are you wondering the best way to do good with your wealth now that you’re retired? If you’re over 70 ½, you can donate assets directly without paying income taxes. You can also donate all or a portion of your wealth to charity after death. There are many charities serving military and veterans that are worthy of your contribution; however, scam charities do exist, so verify an organization’s legitimacy before writing a check.
Volunteer to help veterans
You don’t need money to make a difference in the lives of U.S. troops and veterans. If charitable giving isn’t in your budget, donate time instead. Volunteers are always needed at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, the United Service Organizations, and local nonprofits serving veterans. You can also volunteer one-on-one with a veteran in your community by searching for a veteran in need at DAV.
Our service members and veterans are in need every day of the year, so don’t wait for a special occasion to offer your support. Whether you’re young or old, have money to give or just time, your efforts make an impact on the lives of our military and their families.
Image via Burst