I scanned through my Christmas list, and as usual, came up empty as to what to buy for several of the folks I’d added. What do you give to someone who doesn’t need anything or is the “I’ll buy it if I need it” type? Perhaps you’re stymied like I am about certain older relatives who insist that, “Really, I don’t need a thing?”
Rather than gifting an item that runs the risk of being returned or worse, abandoned to collecting dust on a hidden shelf, perhaps this is the year for a two-fer—give something you can feel good about and give to charities that support military and veterans.
Military and Veteran-Oriented Charities
While donating to charities in someone else’s name is nothing new, giving to a military-or veteran-oriented charity could put a smile on the face of your giftee, while supporting causes that are important to you.
Before I suggest a few non-profits and charities worth your attention, you might want to run your possible donations through a couple of agencies to help you determine how much a charity donates and what they spend on overhead and fundraising.
GuideStar is the largest and perhaps most well-regarded source of information about nonprofit organizations. Get constantly updated information and reviews on the most well-known nonprofits.
Charity Navigator features a star rating system for charities. Check out their list specifically curated for veterans and military causes.
Please note: any listing I provide here is for informational purposes only and is not necessarily an endorsement. It’s important to research where you choose to donate your own money. Use this as a jumping-off point!
5 Veteran and Military Charities to Support This Christmas Season
1) Wreaths Across America
Dedicated to honoring America’s fallen during the holiday season, Wreaths Across America began with volunteers laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery each December and has now spread across the U.S. and even overseas to honor veterans’ graves. Sponsor a wreath in someone else’s name or donate to a local fundraising group at Wreaths Across America.
2) Luke’s Wings
Luke’s Wings has a goal of ensuring that “no soldier spends the holidays alone” by uniting family members and friends with ill and wounded service members through the purchase of flights and travel tickets for loved ones.
3) Soldier’s Angels
Offering four unique programs: Veteran Support, Family Support, Wounded Support and Deployed Support, give to Soldier’s Angels to help military families in need, loved ones left behind, and veterans. Their “Other Ways to Give” page gives specifics on sponsorship opportunities or you can simply donate.
4) Comfort Crew
The Comfort Crew provides deployment resources for families through live events, books, DVDs, Comfort Kits for children of deployed service members, as well as support for wounded warriors, families of fallen heroes, and more. See their programs page for more information.
5) Disabled American Veterans
Supporting veterans since 1920, the DAV’s goal is to empower veterans and enable them to live with dignity. Whether it’s providing rides for medical appointments or assisting veterans with benefits claims, the DAV provides help through its 1,300 chapters across the country. Their subject matter experts also closely monitor legislation affecting America’s veterans.
While there are obviously more than five worthy military-oriented charities (USO, Fisher House Foundation, and Homes for Our Troops are a few others that come to mind), I hope this list will spur some thoughtful gift-giving for those hard-to-buy-for family and friends, while also supporting our greater military family.