Here in San Francisco we just wrapped up our celebration of Fleet Week, which is a great time of year to honor our military and the sacrifices our service men and women make for us. However, a week of celebrations and the cheering the Blue Angels, is not an adequate reflection of how much gratitude we should have for those serving or have served overseas.
My Dressed and Educated request for this week and the rest of the 50 weeks until Fleet Week returns is to make an effort to show your appreciation for those who have served, continue to serve and their families.
If you're looking for ways to get involved take a look at a small list of little ways that you can help show your gratitude.
1. Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project. WWP works to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women, to help severely injured service members aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. www.wounderwarriorproject.org
2. Give Shelter: Homes for Our Troops constructs houses for severely injured veterans who served after 9/11, like Cpl. Larry Draughn (above). Donate equipment or help build a home. www.homesforourtroops.org
3. Bring flowers to a military cemetery. Even if you don't know someone personally who has lost their life serving our country, why not lay flowers anyway? The person that you're honoring probably meant a lot to someone.
4. Offer a vet a ride. The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) provides free transportation to men and women unable to travel to VA medical facilities on their own. You can volunteer to drive a DAV van for those in need. dav.org/volunteers
5. Donate used DVDs. Drop off movies or television shows at your local VA facility, or mail them to DVDs4Vets, a national organization that distributes them where needed. dvds4vets.org
6. Send a care package. Through the organization Kitchen Table Gang, hospitalized veterans and troops abroad can receive personalized parcels containing everything from candy to board games. Get a service member’s address from KTG, bundle up items with a note of thanks, and send them off. soldierpackages.org
7. Sign up your dog for therapy dog classes at your local Humane Society. Once your dog is certified bring them around to local veterans hospitals and nursing homes.
8. Buy Products that Provide Money and Services to Vets. For example, Harry Barker's
Canine's For Veteran products. Harry Barker's Canine's For Veterans treats, balls and leashes is a "Triple Win" national program. First, Canines for Veterans saves dogs' lives, rescuing them from shelters.Next, they teach military inmates how to train these dogs to serve wounded veterans. This gives the inmates a purpose and helps rehabilitate them. Finally, the trained dogs are paired with wounded veterans, assisting them with everyday tasks and enriching their lives. For more information please visit CaninesforVeterans.org
You can pick up these Canines for Veterans products at http://www.harrybarker.com/Canines-for-Veterans/products/39/.
Other ways to donate to help veterans (check out):