There are a lot of veterans across the country who could use a helping hand from someone, and plenty of people who want to help but don’t quite know how.
Connecting veterans with those who want to help is the reason DAV developed VolunteerforVeterans.org. It’s an online resource that connects volunteers with those who’ve served.
“We’ve seen success where our members have embraced the platform,” said National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst. “Veterans and nonveterans alike have signed up to help veterans in their neighborhoods, whether by raking leaves, mowing grass or helping with home repairs. Any service that benefits veterans can be accomplished through the program. But we need to do more.”
Through VolunteerforVeterans.org, DAV Chapter 66 in Alabama teamed up with volunteers from Home Depot to make repairs at the chapter building, including building a wheelchair ramp to make the building more accessible to all veterans.
Chapter Commander William Epps Jr. said there are a lot of disabled veterans in the community who used crutches or had extremely bad knees and would benefit from the ramp instead of having to negotiate steps to get in the chapter building. This addition to the building not only helps veterans with mobility problems, it could mean increased membership for the chapter with enhanced accessibility.
Volunteering doesn’t mean all opportunities have to be heavy duty. Many veterans just need help with mowing the lawn or running an errand. A group of volunteers in Northern Kentucky helped a veteran with light home repairs and raked up leaves. While the weather has been unpredictable this winter, several people signed up early to volunteer their time helping veterans by shoveling snow. Although snow hasn’t come to some of those areas, the volunteers are signed up and ready to deploy when needed.
There are many areas across the country where volunteers have signed up but not a lot of veterans in their area are in the Volunteer for Veterans system—and vice versa. Chapter members can help solve this problem by getting veterans who need help signed up and educate the community about the program to populate the site. That way there are plenty of volunteers ready to answer the call for assistance while veterans and caregivers can let people know their needs.
Chapters can also help the youth in their communities prepare for college by logging hours through Volunteer for Veterans. These hours can help high school students earn one of DAV’s annual Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarships, which could cover up to $20,000 toward their education.
Chapters and DAV members are encouraged to get the word out to their communities about visiting the site and signing up. The application process is easy, and once enrolled, volunteers will receive information on opportunities in their areas.
Visit VolunteerforVeterans.org and sign up to help—or to get help—today.