It’s no secret that returning veterans suffer from a wide variety of challenges. Many of these we, as non-veterans, have a great difficulty comprehending. These struggles vary from issues such as difficulty finding housing, to struggles returning to work, and to mental struggles such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many of us want to help these veterans, yet are simply unsure of how to get started. There are thousands of credible foundations, groups and options out there to help veterans.
There are also many very creative options that have been sprouting up in past recent years that seek to address the specific needs of those who return from active combat. For example, several groups are sprouting up that look to creatively address the issues veterans often face when it comes to finding housing after returning to their hometowns. Many homeless veterans face issues of finding immediate housing that is affordable. One idea that is growing quickly is the idea of building communities of tiny homes .
These houses have everything that someone needs to live a fruitful life – kitchen, bedroom, living space, even a deck – but are compacted into a small space that is perfect for transitional housing. This is just one example of getting creative when it comes to solving a specific issue facing veterans.
While projects like tiny home communities are a large undertaking, one of the most immediate needs veterans have is for clothing. Clothing is one of the simple and affordable ways to help these veterans with their needs. Below are a few very simple ways to serve and help veterans through clothing-related options.
AMVETS is a well-renowned organization that has been around since 1944. The group is available in typically every state and currently has over 250,000 members nationally. AMVETS calls their organization’s locations Posts and they can likely be found in and around most towns and major cities. AMVETS accepts all types of clothing for men, women and children. The organization also accepts accessories such as jewelry, shoes and handbags. AMVETS is unique because the organization offers pick-up service in the majority of the locations where it has a presence. People can simply submit a pick-up request form on the organization’s website. Aside from clothing, AMVETS also accepts a huge variety of other items. Appliances, sporting equipment, books, toys, and small home goods are just a few of the many items that AMVETS will accept. A full list can be found on the company’s website.
Hero Clean is an organization that publishes a continually updated list of companies that support veterans. While not all of these companies are clothing-related, many of the companies do fall in that category.
One of the most popular brands that has made a continual effort to consistently give back to both active military and veterans is the popular brand Under Armor. The company pairs with Wounded Warrior Project to run the UA Freedom Initiative. If you aren’t familiar, Wounded Warrior Project is one of the largest organizations in the country that focuses on providing a huge variety of services to the men and women of service who maintain injuries while serving. These services focus on both physical disabilities as well as mental health issues that many veterans face. Under Armor commits to donated a certain dollar amount (in the millions) annually to Wounded Warrior Project. Additionally, the company launches a variety of projects each year that focus solely on supporting veterans.
Support the VVA
The Vietnam Veterans of America has a clothing donation program that allows you to schedule a donation pickup online. You simply choose a day that works for you and then leave your bags or boxes in a safe location and label it to be picked up by the Vietnam Veterans of America. Additionally, you simply leave a tax deduction receipt and you will be able to write off any donations on your taxes.
In addition to these nation-wide organizations, there are typically local organizations in most communities. Asking a local affiliation like the Salvation Army or Goodwill is a great place to find veteran-specific places to donate clothing. Other organizations might sell apparel, such as shirts, hats, and more, where the proceeds are then donated to a local or national Veteran organization. All you need to do is find an opportunity that works best for you!