I made a deal with America. If you give me a green card, I will make you proud. I will travel across your beautiful land and I will make people smile, laugh and encourage folks to be their best selves. I also promised to work with as many charities I possibly can throughout my journey. That said, I was honored to help our veterans this past weekend at a "Cooking with Vodka" themed event in The Villages, FL. My goal was to raise $10K by the end of the evening for Combat Veterans to Careers, and I was a chuffed when we surpassed our goal, raising $15K. It was a really lovely evening filled with entertainment and eight delicious courses supplies by eight generous and talented chefs.
Thank you to all the chefs and volunteers and everyone who was kind enough to purchase a ticket and donate to such a great cause.
Below is a list of ways you can help our veterans.
Resources for Veterans:
Combat Veterans to Careers
When veterans return home from war, their lives are forever changed. These organizations and government agencies can help you or someone you know find the care and support you need.
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
This government agency provides veterans and their dependents with a wide range of services, including benefit information, home loans, life insurance, post-traumatic stress disorder facts and burial assistance.
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans: 1-877-424-3838
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (Veterans Press "1")
National Veterans Chat Line: www.SuicidePreventionLifeline.org
U.S. VETS: United States Veterans Initiative
U.S. VETS offers many programs and services to veterans, including transitional and affordable housing, job training, career centers, mental health services and counseling. The organization's Advance Women's Program is designed to help women veterans with military sexual trauma, health issues and psychological barriers.
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Help a veteran get the treatment she needs to start rebuilding her life. Walter Reed provides care to past, present and future soldiers who need care.
The Army Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline: 1-800-984-8523
Grace After Fire
Dedicated to female veterans, Grace After Fire is a place to connect with other women service members and their families. Also, veterans can submit questions to fellow veterans.
Wounded Warrior Project
In this organization, injured service members get together to support each other and raise awareness about public aid. Wounded soldiers can get benefits counseling, peer mentoring and more. The Wounded Warrior Project also offers programs and services for veterans' loved ones.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
This organization is the nation's first—and largest—group dedicated to the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their supporters. IAVA teaches veterans how to play a role in the community, connect with others, organize fundraisers and stay informed on issues that are affecting veterans.
American Women Veterans Foundation
Dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of servicewomen, veterans and their families, American Women Veterans is a good resource for veterans looking for retreats, conferences and outreach campaigns that empower members and their communities. Female servicemembers are also encouraged to continue helping out in their communities and the nation through philanthropy.
Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Wars strive to do good things for veterans, their families and their communities. This organization offers assistance through the National Veterans Service, transitioning back into society, troop support programs, post-military help and programs for veterans' family members.
Military, Veterans & Patriotic Service Organizations of America (MVPSOA)
This organization certifies high-quality national nonprofits that help veterans and their families. MVPSOA provides information about scholarships for the children of military personnel and information on funding memorials and museums that honor those who have served our country.
The National Archives: Sources for Veterans Information, Aid and Benefits
This website offers a robust list of government services, including resources for a veteran's specific military branch. Plus, veterans can find out about government assistance in their communities.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers information about suicide prevention, addiction and trauma. Veterans can also learn to cope with fear and anxiety and deal with grief.
U.S. Office of Personal Management's Government-Wide Veterans Employment
On November 9, 2009, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, which established the Veterans Employment Initiative. This website is the result. It's helpful for veterans who are looking for a job because it helps the government recruit and employ U.S. veterans.
Student Veterans of America
This organization ensures that veterans are successful in their transition from combat to the classroom by helping them develop student veteran groups on college campuses across the United States. Also, veterans can support fellow student veterans here.
The American Legion
As the nation's largest veteran service organization, the American Legion is committed to mentoring programs in communities across America, advocating for patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security and supporting service members and veterans.