On Nov. 11, 1918 an armistice went into effect marking the end of “the war to end all wars” better known as World War I. Now, nearly 100 years later, we honor America’s troops for Veterans Day each year on the same day.
Veterans Day is essential in remembering the bravery of those who served and are still serving. Even today, the U.S. has over 200,000 Americans stationed overseas. As of 2014, there were roughly 21.8 million veterans in the U.S., so if you are looking to support and honor veterans this Nov. 11 and beyond, here are some options:
With organizations like Pick Up Please and GreenDrop, it’s simple to give back any day of the year. Instead of throwing out unwanted or unneeded clothing and other household goods, donate gently used items. Both GreenDrop and Pick Up Please, among similar non-profits, will pick up donations from your doorstop or offer drop-off locations throughout the Main Line, including Broomall, Media and Malvern.
Donating goods makes an impact on the veterans community in America, but consider putting the pedal to the metal and donating a car for a veteran. Vietnam Veterans Car Donation Program offers free towing of all car donations whenever it is most convenient for the donor. All interested donors need to do is fill out a brief online form. Purple Heart Foundation has a similar process, and they also accept donations of boats and recreational vehicles. As of Oct. 29, nearly 600,000 cars have been donated through Purple Heart, which may give veterans the jumpstart they need.
The Philadelphia VA Medical Center (3900 Woodland Ave.) is always looking for volunteers and donations that make a veteran’s stay at the hospital more comfortable and the transition out of the hospital easier.
Aside from donating goods, you can also make a monetary donation to numerous veteran support organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project and Disabled American Veterans. All donations, from clothing to cars to cash, support America’s veterans and is just one way you can give back this Veterans Day.
Donate your time this Nov. 11, or any day out of the year, to recognize the men and women who have served and are still serving. Heading to your local Veterans Affairs hospital is a great place to start. In Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center accepts adult volunteers willing to work four hours per week, college students who can work three hours a week, and high school students willing to work two hours a week. They train and place individuals in areas ranging from clerical to clinical to the community.
There are several shelters for veterans throughout the greater Philadelphia area, which are always looking more helping hands. The Philadelphia Veterans House (4108 Baltimore Ave.) is just one shelter that relies on volunteers to operate. Help with clerical work, meal prep and more.
For dog-lovers, another way to volunteer is by raising a puppy to become a service dog. Programs like Canine Companions for Independence or Hero Dogs allow qualified individuals or families to train a puppy so that one day he or she can offer life-saving support for veterans.
Create a Care Package
Organizations like Operation Gratitude, Any Soldier and Adopt a US Soldier make it easy to send care packages and letters to troops currently overseas. With Any Soldier you can search through their database of soldiers and see what types of goods are requested. Operation Gratitude has sent over 1.3 million care packages to date, and that number grows every day. Some commonly requested items are knit hats and scarves, DVDs, hygiene products and even Beanie Babies to give to local children where they’re stationed.
Say Thank You
There are so many ways to say thank you and give back this Veterans Day, but why limit the thanks to just one day? Show support year-round by donating goods, making cash gifts, volunteering or sending a care package to carry on the message of Veterans Day, every day.