As of 2018, there are around 18.2 million living veterans in the Unites States that have served in at least one war. Those who have served in a war have made tremendous sacrifices physically, emotionally, and relationally. Physically, the effects of war can cause injury and permanent damage to the body. Emotionally, the effects of war, stress, and loss have unmeasurable effects on the brain, both chemically and situationally. Relationally, the after-effects of both physical and emotional turmoil can put a strain on ay relationship. If you want to support your veterans and offer your support, pay attention to a few of the simple steps to make a difference.
One way to support veterans is by providing transportation. Often displaced or overwhelmed, veterans are unable to drive. Most VA chapters have a volunteer transportation network that provides opportunities for volunteers to sign up for times to offer transportation.
Listen, Listen, Listen
One way that you can give back to a veteran that has given so much is by being present and listening. Really listen to them. A right amount of veterans end up socially isolated, which can have a negative effect on their emotional and physical health. Get to know the veterans in your area and make sure to offer support and time to your veterans.
We often underestimate the value of a home-cooked meal. For veterans who were eating who-knows-what why deployed, and are eating more cafeteria-like food at a VA, a home-cooked meal can be as important as a hug. Providing someone with home-cooked food shows that you not only wanted to bless them with something, but you were also willing to put in the effort.
Whether you support your veterans by donation or time, every little thing you do can make a huge difference.