Innovative Veterans Day Cards – A New Way to Honor Veterans
A nonprofit organization has developed a way to help homeless veterans by honoring the veterans in your life through Veterans Day Cards.
How do we recognize the service and sacrifices made by our veterans? Do we call them, send emails, Veterans Day cards or do nothing? Maybe some veterans prefer to not be reminded. Others long to hear "thank you" or "I'm proud of you." Some prefer to pass the day in remembrance of their fellow soldiers, both living and dead.
Our attitudes about our veterans have come a long way since the Viet Nam era. How hard it must have been for those vets to return home only to be called names and spat upon. Most of the soldiers returning from that war received no honor upon their return. I'm glad to see we have learned the lessons from that time. Now, whether or not we agree with a war, we honor the bravery and devotion to country of our veterans.
Personal contacts with the veterans in our lives are still the best way to show our gratitude for their service. For many, something tangible, even if it is just a card, reminds them that their sacrifices and service mean something long after they retire from the armed forces.
The Innovation in Cards
An innovation in Veterans Day Cards that gives them a new and special meaning has just been introduced by the not-for-profit organization, Teens Opposing Poverty (TOP). For a donation of $25, they will send a card in honor of a living veteran or as a memorial to the family of a deceased veteran. The donation helps to support their outreach to the homeless in Washington, DC and several cities in Virginia. According to the information they put out, about 40% of the homeless men they serve are veterans.
Teens Opposing Poverty trains and leads youth groups in outreaches to the homeless. They meet physical needs by providing food, clothes, toiletries and other necessities, but they go beyond that and spend time with the people they serve to learn their stories, offer hope and encouragement and direct them to resources that provide other assistance.
The youth groups generally go into the streets and parks to serve which gives them access to homeless people who do not go to soup kitchens and shelters. The $25 donation supports a half day of operations in one city. That is pretty cost effective considering they serve over 3,000 homeless people per year in seven towns and cities.
Some homeless veterans have physical scars from battle. Others have mental and emotional scars that make it difficult for them to function in society. Many of them don't go to shelters except in the most severe weather. They keep to themselves and sleep in alleyways, on loading docks and under bridges.
The goal of TOP is to encourage these veterans to seek whatever help they need to get off the street. Much of what keeps veterans homeless is their own mindset and a lack of knowledge about the services that are available to them.
A Variation on the Innovation
You could take this idea and apply it to other organizations that help veterans. For example, you could buy a regular Veterans Day Card for the person you want to honor and send a donation in his/her name to the veteran's service organization of your choice. You could then include a note to the person you are honoring to inform them that their card represents help for veterans in need.
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