WORK SMARTER NOT HARDER:  5 Ways to Support Your Local Veterans and Those Who Serve Today

That picture is my own family.  Hey, it’s Mo.  What better day than Veterans Day, to learn more about why we honor our military on this day, and what we can do to support those who protect us and our American freedom?

Big thanks to Parent Map for sharing these great ways to honor Veterans Day, to instill respect in our next generations and to educate our littles about the history and importance of this occasion.

  1. Support your local VA Center – like Hines VA in Maywood.  They are always in need of donations (like new packages of toothbrushes, underwear, washcloths, soap, etc.) to support their Extended Care vets, who rely on our support.  Visit here, to see the list and connect with the amazing staff at Hines VA.  [[They took care of my Dad, through his cancer battle, till it’s bitter end…  and they do an outstanding job.]]  LaSalle Veterans Home will always welcome your help, as well.  They need a website and internet help.
  2. Talk as a family.  Talk to your children about why we honor our veterans.  Learning the history of Veterans Day can help.  Do they know that this was originally “Armistice Day” – 11/11/1918 – the day when weapons were stilled, at the end of World War I (“The War to End All Wars” – unfortunately, that would not be the case, as we learned from WWII and beyond)?
  3. Support veterans and current military in your community.  A great way to do this is to connect with the wonderful folks in Peotone, who started Adopt A Soldier.  Maybe you could deliver a meal, or pack up sweatshirts, for homeless vets, with them.  If you know a veteran, who could use some help, offer your services.  Maybe home repairs or chores, or by sharing your legal or financial expertise (how can your personal and professional background help them?).  Volunteer with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
  4. Support veteran and military families.  When soldiers leave to protect our country, they sacrifice many things, including time spent with their families.  When they do return, they may be dealing with the after-effects of war, like PTSD – which can, in turn, affect their partners and children.  Right here in Chicagoland, S.O.S. can help.  Click on this link:  Support Over Stigma.  [[Parent Map says:  “This year, support a veteran by supporting his or her family.  Try volunteering to babysit so the parents can have a night out together, or deliver a meal for the entire family to enjoy.  You can even round up the neighborhood and each find ways to support a local veteran’s family with acts of kindness.  By supporting a veteran’s family, you’re showing respect for all the sacrifices they make.”]]  One west-suburban military mom posts a current list of those who serve in her church bulletin or newsletter.
  5. Say thank you – in a way that doesn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable…  The simplest way to show support is by saying thank you …in a quiet way.  “Veterans sacrifice time with their families, risk their lives and risk their mental health in order to protect our country and freedom,” says Parent Map.  While soldiers don’t sign up with glory or gratitude on their minds, it’s nice to hear appreciation.  ADOPT A SOLDIER or SOS can help you with this.  You can send a thank you with a letter or a card to active deployed service members.  Or send one to an elderly veteran – perhaps through the National World War II Museum, or one of the others dedicated to specific wars.  It is a pure and simple way to show a veteran or military family your support.  These two words could change their whole day or even year – and make them feel proud .

PS:  Here’s the list of items to pack for the veterans who’re receiving care at Hines VA:

Alcohol free aftershave
Alcohol free mouthwash
Chapstick or lip balm
Crossword puzzle/game books
Denture adhesive
Denture cleaner (tablets)
Disposable razors
Word-find books
Hand & body lotion
Nail clippers
New undershirts (all sizes)
New underwear (all sizes)
Playing cards
Shaving cream
New sweatpants (all sizes)
New sweatshirts (all sizes)
New winter gloves
New winter hats

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