Three Reasons to Volunteer, Donate and Get Involved with Helping Our Veterans

Helping disabled veterans

If you spend only one weekend in a major American city, you’ll likely see more than a handful of impoverished people in the most desolate corners looking for donations. But while that kind of indigence is heartbreaking because it happens right out in the open, there are scores of other cases of poor and poverty-stricken people that we may not be able to see because their pain is kept private. Yes, instances like this are common in economically crippled countries, but they also happen right here in the United States behind closed doors.

Perhaps the most private pain is the pain endured by military veterans and their families once the soldiers return home from combat zones. It’s not private in the sense that it goes unreported upon — indeed, major news outlets have been covering the plight of vets for years. The privacy of these occurrences comes from the fact that your neighbor could have just returned home from Afghanistan, but do you really know the pain (both physically and economically) he or she is going through?

Empathy is a powerful weapon, perhaps even more powerful than bombs and rocket launchers. It’s not hard to donate clothes, food or even some of our time to our nation’s vets. Here are three reasons why it just might be the most important thing you do all year.

Vet drug abuse isn’t getting any better.

The Facts: Currently, post-traumatic stress disorder affects about 2.2% of the total American population, with 11 to 20% of all Iraq and Afghanistan war vets suffering from the affliction. This has led to a significant increase in drug abuse among vets, a staggering epidemic on a national scale.

What You Can Do: Like we said above, sometimes the most powerful donation you can make is your time. Spend an afternoon at a VA hospital visiting with folks who are coping with their mental struggles. If you know someone who’s returned home from war, remember their sacrifices.

Vet unemployment continues to climb.

The Facts: Out of the 270,000 vets who are discharged every year, an estimated 35,000 will remain without a job. This places the entire unemployment rate for vets at 12.8% — nearly a full three points higher than the national average.

What You Can Do: Look for clothing donations bins in your neighborhood and drop off bags of old clothes. The stuff that can’t be resold will be broken down into raw fabric and used in restaurants and kitchens, and proceeds will go to helping vets handle their mounting finances.

Military families still struggle with medical debt.

The Facts: With PTSD rates soaring and increasing technology on the battlefield leading to more lives being saved, the problem of medical debt isn’t getting any less serious. Vet families aren’t necessarily looking for donations to help them personally, but it’s important to note how every little bit helps. As such…

What You Can Do: Find vet-centered charity organizations in your community and see what you can do to make a difference. Remember, it doesn’t only have to be a monetary donation to make a difference.

For more information about helping vets in your community, look up information about which organizations are currently looking for donations. Find more on this here.

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