While veterans may be out of uniform, that is not to say they aren’t fighting their own battles daily. Veterans can often be overlooked at the holidays, but there are many veterans who would appreciate even an hour of your time. The following are great starting places to volunteer that time:
Volunteer at your Local VA
One of the most treasured items you can give a veteran is your time. Locate the closest VA Medical Center to you and volunteer with the veterans. You may be asked to serve food or simply do a puzzle with a veteran. Keep in mind that the veteran you are helping may rarely receive visitors and your presence alone is a gift. To register as a volunteer, you can fill out an online form or contact the VA Voluntary Service Office at your nearest VA Medical Center directly.
Lay a Wreath on a Veteran’s Grave
Wreaths Across America is an organization that allow you to donate your time or money in an effort to place wreaths on the headstones of every veteran in a veteran cemetery nationwide. This program operates out of over 1,000 locations, in every U.S. state.
Adopt a Veteran
There are a multitude of programs in place that help to support lonely or isolated veterans. Veterans in VA hospitals, assisted care homes, community living center, retirement homes, homeless and transitional shelters, and hospital domiciliary programs are all eligible. Even if you can’t find an official program, feel free to stop by your local VA Medical Center and inform them that you are interested in adopting a veteran. They will be more than happy to connect you with a veteran.
The holidays are meant to bring about feelings of love, joy and happiness. Unfortunately for many veterans, the holidays induce further stress. How can you best help those who have defended you? You can volunteer your time at a local VA Medical Center, lay a wreath on a veteran’s grave or even “adopt” a veteran. No matter what you choose, the gift of your time is always enough.