Budget-Friendly Ways to Give Back to Our Troops

Support for military families

What are some simple — and free — ways to support our troops? Parents and schools are asking kids to write letters, Christmas cards, and Valentines addressed to our soldiers. The results are priceless. “Hi I’m Valerie and I’m eating a cupcake,” one Christmas card, published in The Huffington Post, reads. Another gem? “Dear Soldier, Do you know my cousin Michael Jordan? He is in the Oremy [sic]. Also, are you guys fighting the Germans? Because if you are, my cousin Colton has the video game of you guys.”

Help Injured Soldiers and Veterans

Many organizations that help military families focus on aiding soldiers or veterans injured in battle. Charities may, for example, host events to fund discounted housing for injured or disabled military. Others ask Americans to donate materials and/or volunteer their time to build housing for soldiers injured in war. You can even donate unused frequent flier miles to military families to help them visit hospitalized soldiers without fronting the costs. Search online — or local newspaper listings — for related organizations in your area.

Kill Two Birds With One Stone

Want to support our troops and save the environment? The good news is you can! Charities typically accept used laptops, computers, cellphones, iPods, digital cameras, ink cartridges, and more. Companies refurbish the products (eliminating waste) and sell them exclusively to soldiers and veterans. Some charities even practice donation pickup. In other words, some charities come to you — and your home — to pick up military donations.

Practice Creative Couponing

Helping military families — without forking over cash — is more than possible. One of the best ways to help is to explicitly offer a hand. Many military husbands and wives (and people in general, for that matter) are prideful and hesitant to admit that a little extra help could go a long way. Draw up coupons good for “an hour of lawn mowing,” “two hours of help with errands,” or “a night of free babysitting.” Gift the coupons to military families during holidays and special occasions.

Giving back to our troops does not have to cost a fortune. Volunteer your time to build a house for a wounded soldier, contribute to charities that pick up military donations, or help babysit for a military husband or wife.

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