Volunteering for Veterans: Ways to Show Your Support for Our Troops
A great way to actively support our troops is to volunteer your time to aid military veterans, and there are many ways to lend a hand using your own skills and experiences.
Volunteering, aside from feeling fulfilling, contributes to the whole community. As Winston Churchill said, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
The following programs are always looking for volunteers, so kindly consider donating your time to military veterans in need of your support and companionship.
RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program)
Senior Corps is the largest US volunteer network for adults age 55 and over, and their RSVP program connects people in each state with local volunteer opportunities, including work with military veterans. The RSVP program in Cumberland County, New Jersey, for example, one of the many in the state, offers orientation, on-site training, and flexible volunteer hours.
Visit americorps.gov and click on the RSVP tab for more information.
Disabled American Veterans
Helping disabled veterans and their families has been the sole purpose of this program for over 100 years. Volunteer opportunities involve working in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and driving veterans to medical appointments, among other things.
Visit dav.org for more information.
Hire Heroes USA
You can help veterans look for job training or provide assistance by holding mock interviews, being a mentor, helping with career counseling, or setting up fundraisers. If you are a business owner, you can become an employment partner. Most opportunities are over the phone or video calls, so you can volunteer without leaving your home.
Visit hireheroesusa.org to learn how you can help.
Honor Flight Network
The Honor Flight Network coordinates flights or transportation for veterans to visit the memorials built in their honor in Washington, DC. Volunteers can escort vets on the trip, help arrange transportation to the airport, or greet them upon departure or arrival to acknowledge their sacrifice. Most states have a local chapter, such as the Honor Flight of Southern New Jersey in Sewell, NJ.
Visit honorflight.org to find ways to support this program.
The mission of Soldiers’ Angels is to ensure “no soldier goes unloved.” This inclusive program has chapters in every state and needs hands-on and virtual volunteers to meet the needs of our military veterans. Opportunities include providing food assistance, running errands, planning events, and sending care packages. Soldiers’ Angels works with VA and offers an array of volunteer opportunities.
Visit soldiersangels.org for ways to help.
Even small gestures can make a veteran’s day, such as getting a letter or care package in the mail or sharing your gratitude for their service to our country. If you are an artist, Operation Gratitude encourages sending handcrafted items with hygiene products, snacks, and supplies.
Visit operationgratitude.com for sign-up information.
VA Voluntary Service (VAVS)
Since 1946, VAVS has been caring for our military veterans during treatment at VA facilities. Volunteers help drive vets to appointments or errands, provide companionship, aid staff in nursing homes and outreach centers, and so much more.
Visit volunteer.va.gov for a complete list of opportunities near you.
Veterans Moving Forward – Canine Team
When veterans need a service dog, this program provides trained professionals that help vets complete daily tasks safely. Compassionate volunteers walk and socialize the dogs, fundraise, and take puppies in training home to raise.
Visit vetsfwd.org to find out more.
America’s VetDogs is another pet-loving volunteer option. You can volunteer in their kennels, train puppies on the weekend, work on fundraising events, or even act as an advisor to the board.
Visit vetdogs.org for more information.
Homes for Our Troops
Homes for Our Troops is a wonderful volunteer opportunity that provides free homes to disabled military veterans. The program needs help building custom houses for each vet to ensure they can live independently. You can also donate services, goods, or land to keep the program on track.
Visit hfotusa.org for more information.