5 Ways You Can Honor Purple Heart Veterans
In the early days of our nation, George Washington created the Purple Heart award to honor veterans of the Revolutionary War. After WWI, General Douglas MacArthur brought the award back in order to honor both the memory of George Washington, 200 years after his birth, and to show appreciation for the soldiers who were lost or wounded in battle during the Great War.
The Purple Heart remains a sacred honor today, awarded to those veterans who come home from battle injured and posthumously to those who don’t make it home. If you feel strongly about supporting Purple Heart veterans, there are a number of organizations devoted to the cause.
You must be careful though – many organizations that claim to help veterans are scams, and even some that aren’t outright scams get called out by organizations like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator for having dismal records when it comes to how much of their donations actually go to helping veterans. The list below is by no means a comprehensive listing of all available organizations you can help Purple Heart veterans through, but we urge you to check up on any other charities you consider before donating to make sure they’re legitimate.
What they do: The National Military Family Association works to represent the causes of military members and their families to politicians. They also help families to better understand and take advantage of the benefits available to them.
What you can do: You can help the organization forward their causes either by donating money, signing petitions and writing letters, or volunteering.
What they do: The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund was set up to support the families of soldiers who die in service, as well as those who come home wounded. That help comes in the form of grants to families of veterans killed in action and building hospitals designed to help treat the common injuries of soldiers who come home from battle wounded.
What you can do: You can donate money to the fund to help support their activities and initiatives, or take things one step further and hold a fundraising event to help encourage others to donate to the fund as well.
What they do: No soldier that fights for our nation should face being bankrupted trying to adapt a home to their new needs after being wounded in battle. Homes for Our Troops works to build mortgage-free homes that are specially adapted to the needs of wounded service members when they return home.
What you can do: Homes for our Troops lists a number of ways that supporters can help. Beyond the usual option of donating money, you can donate property, volunteer, help fundraise, or become a building partner.
What they do: Operation Homefront basically aims to fill in all the gaps that other veteran services might miss. If a veteran faces a tough financial situation, they try to step in and help. If a wounded veteran has trouble getting used to life with a prosthetic limb, they aim to aid in the transition. They look for opportunities to identify veteran needs and provide for them as much as possible.
What you can do: You can donate money to the organization itself, or you can view their current needs page and donate more directly to a veteran in need.
5. Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
What they do: TAPS is an organization devoted to the families left behind after a soldier is killed. They provide grief resources and a positive community to those going through the difficult process of accepting the loss of a loved one.
What you can do: As with the other charities, the main ways to help are to donate money or volunteer your time. They also throw regular fundraising events that you can attend.
You can also consider looking into local organizations and charity events in your area that support veterans. You may find a good opportunity to meet veterans and their families and develop relationships with them that are more direct and meaningful than the connection you’d get from a more distant donation. Whatever option you choose, helping Purple Heart veterans is a meaningful way to show your support for the sacrifices they’ve made.
What they do: VeteranAid.org is the leading resource for the veterans Aid and Attendance pension benefit. This benefit can help veterans and spouses pay for the costs of care.
What you can do: This pension benefit is little-known. Helping to spread the awareness of Aid and Attendance can save some veterans and their families thousands of dollars in the costs of care. For a veteran to find out if they may be eligible, use the eligibility calculator.