From helping wounded warriors to giving appreciation to those who have made sacrifices for their country, supporting veterans comes in many shapes and forms. In times of war and peace, it’s an extension of civil service.
For veterans in need of help, there’s a rocky history of support. Still, there are nonprofit and not-for-profit veteran services out there making a difference.
Here are 3 organizations to keep in mind if you’re looking for help, or looking for a place to volunteer or donate.
United Service Organizations (USO)
Although the USO is a private, non-for-profit organization, they work closely with the Department of Defense to provide its services.
While best known for its celebrity performances in war zones and airport lounges for veterans, the USO provides multiple outreach services and acts as a fairly convenient way for civilians to directly support veterans.
At USO airport lounges, veterans can get a break from the often stressful, lonely, and sometimes cost-prohibitive airport experience. The lounges offer a place to sit, food and drink, movies, books, and conversation at no cost to the servicemember as long as military ID (or other verification) is available.
The service especially helps service members who are new to travel, operating under drastic changes to orders, or stranded due to travel plan changes when taking commercial flights.
It is also helpful to veterans traveling and can connect both active duty and veteran servicemembers to services they need—either directly, with a few properly-placed phone calls, or by giving directions.
Fisher House Foundation
The Fisher House foundation provides free housing for families of patients who are receiving care through military and Veterans Affairs medical centers. The service is mostly available at larger bases and VA hospitals.
Fisher houses are designed with up to 21 suites that include private bedrooms and baths. There are common area kitchens, laundry equipment, a dining room, and living room for the average 9-day stay.
Bob Woodruff Family Foundation
Similar to the Fisher House Foundation’s mission, the Bob Woodruff Family Foundation is dedicated to helping servicemembers, veterans, and their families as they adjust to life after the military.
As a post-9/11 conflict service, the foundation was started after reporter Bob Woodruff was critically injured and in need of assistance during his war zone correspondence. His family met with and saw the struggle of the families of injured servicemembers, and created the foundation to help others in similar situations.
For more details on non-profit organizations that help military service members, veterans, and their families, contact a veteran services coordinator.