What items will patrons see go away
to make room for private label, and what assurance is there patrons will not be
less satisfied as a result?
The Armed Services committees have reserved oversight authority
over all of these reforms. They need to hear from you – and many MOAA members
have sent messages asking their legislators to ensure their oversight includes
assessment of these gaps noted by the GAO.
Members Respond to Arlington National Cemetery Capacity Issues
Volunteer for Military Causes
Many Americans want to do something
to show their appreciation for the military, and summer is a great time for
MOAA Chapters to start a volunteer project.
Some choose to work with one of more
than 400,000 organizations that support the military because a group effort
often maximizes the help of individuals, through donated materials and other
bulk resources. For instance, you probably can’t personally construct a smart
home for a disabled servicemember like the Gary Sinise Foundation does.
But could you grow a beard? Run a
race? Set up a lemonade stand for a “real Lt. Dan”? Sinise says they’ll take it.
Here are some other ways you can
volunteer to benefit servicemembers, veterans, and military families.
Use your unique talents and abilities: Are you good at filling out tax returns? Can you set up a
simple website? Can you offer college or career counseling or mentoring? Do you
have a small business? If you’ve answered yes, then check out the Thank A Vet Network,
which is a national registry that connects you to eligible injured veterans and
military families in need of these services.
Soldiers’ Angels can show you how to set up a drive to collect used electronic
devices, cellphones and accessories, laptops, and other items. Into recycling?
You can collect printer and toner cartridges to benefit Soldiers’ Angels,
Operation Gratitude has a program to distribute Beanie Babies to service
Militarize your hobbies:
Do you quilt? Organizations like Quilts of Valor want you. Knit or crochet?
Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation or Operation Gratitude will sign you up.
Bake cookies or cakes? Operation We Are Here and Angel Bakers Team can tell you
how to package and ship them to servicemembers.
Get the teenagers and kids involved: Through Operation Gratitude, teenagers and kids can learn
how to create “cool-ties” or even paracord survival bracelets for deployed
military personnel — and get community service certification for their efforts.
They can discover the frillier side of helping with Operation Top Knot and
Operation Shower, both of which provide virtual and on-site baby showers for
military families, and Brides Across America, which gives volunteers ways to
help provide wedding dresses and accessories for military couples.
Send care packages — hundreds of thousands of them: Operation Gratitude, Operation We Are Here, The Hugs
Project, Operation Interdependence, local chapters of Blue Star Mothers, and
many other organizations need help packing snacks, hygiene items, magazines,
and other items to mail to deployed military personnel.
The personal touch:
You can serve as a greeter at an airport or as a listening friend at a
veterans’ retirement home. Write “a letter from home” to servicememembers from
you personally or from hundreds who will sign them at tables you can set up in
shopping centers and malls as suggested by the National Remember Our Troops
Campaign. An inexpensive and modern option is personalized email, accompanied
by a “Cup of joe for a Joe” code through Green Beans Coffee.
“I appreciated that almost more than
15 or so cards from people I didn’t even know,” says Maj. Carla Gleason, USAF,
of treasured correspondence sent to her by Blue Star Moms during her recent
deployment overseas. “The [military] recipient gets a glimpse into the lives of
the individuals he or she is serving for,” Gleason says. “Sometimes it’s
inspiring to remember that. People who write personal letters of thanks helped
me remember why I chose to leave my family for a time and serve my
Find local opportunities:
Locally, veterans’ medical facilities look for volunteers to drive people to
appointments and provide other needed help. For other opportunities, contact
your neighborhood United Way, United Service Organizations, Disabled American
Veterans, Blue Star Mothers chapters, any VFW Post, or MOAA chapter. Many of
the other organizations mentioned above have local offices as well.