How To Help Local Veterans During The Holidays
The holidays are the time of year where we give thanks and give gifts to our loved ones. It’s also a great time to think of those that have it a lot harder than we do and to share the joy of the Christmas season with them. As a veteran I think about military families that might have a family member deployed or a loved one that is going through a difficult time. Therefore, if you are looking to donate I’d encourage you to contribute to military friendly nonprofits.
The first organization you should consider is Caregivers On The Homefront. The vast majority of us don’t consider the responsibilities and the pain military families can bear. Deployments, moving across the country or an unemployed spouse can magnify anxiety, stress, depression and PTSD. Of course, stress around the holidays only adds to the daily burdens they face.
Care Givers On The Homefront serves families who are caring for warriors of all military eras who have been inflicted with invisible and/or physical wounds of wars abroad or at home. One of their specialties is providing veteran caregivers who can help a family with mental health.Their website: https://caregivers-homefront.org/
Another local veteran nonprofit is the Veterans Community Project (VCP). They have certainly gained a lot of national attention and that’s due to all the great work they have done for the veteran community. They are known better as the group that provides tiny homes for veterans. VCP was founded by combat veterans and focuses on tackling homelessness for veterans. The VCP Village is a community of transitional tiny-homes and onsite services to provide housing stability and address the underlying cause by providing mentoring, case management and counseling.
As a veteran I’m embarrassed that homelessness exists among the veteran population. Veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless and homelessness among female veterans has increased over 1,000% since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Female veterans are nearly three times more likely to be homeless than male veterans and they are often the primary caregivers of children. Afraid of being separated from their children and being assaulted by the system again they are more hesitant to seek help. VCP’s website: https://www.veteranscommunityproject.org/about
Another organization to consider is Wreaths Across America (WAA). Unlike the first two organizations they aren’t based in Kansas City but they do serve our community. Wreaths Across America’s goal is to put wreaths on the graves of veterans at Fort Leavenworth Cemetery and The Leavenworth National Cemetery. WAA coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 1,600 locations across the country at sea and abroad. WAA touches the lives of family members and lets them know their loved one isn’t forgotten. WAA’s website: https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org
Your holiday budget might be stretched thin this year but I’d like to encourage you to help these organizations by contributing or donating your time. I’m grateful for what these organizations have done but I believe when it comes to veteran homelessness, addiction or PTSD we are barely scratching the surface. Moreover, I hope this generation of veterans doesn’t have to wait for help like so many Vietnam veterans did.
Merry Christmas – Semper Fidelis,
Matt Maciel, MA, MBA
Maciel Wealth Management, LLC Veteran Owned Business (VOSB)
8101 College Blvd., Suite 100
Overland Park, KS 66210