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Opinion: How to positively impact Veterans facing challenges in 2024

Military Veterans face complex challenges accessing VA benefits and services, and while there have been strides in support, many issues persist in 2024, like access to care, barriers to employment and education, transition, homelessness and housing, and other social, cultural, and policy hurdles.

It’s important to remember that these are just some of the major challenges, and the individual experiences of Veterans vary greatly. However, acknowledging these issues and working toward solutions is crucial for honoring their service and ensuring they have the support they need to thrive in civilian life.

How you can help

There are many ways you can help Veterans, depending on your time, resources and interests. Here are some ways for you to positively impact Veterans over the coming year:

Raise awareness and advocate

Talk to friends and family. Share information about the challenges Veterans face and encourage them to learn more.

Support Veteran friendly businesses. Choose to patronize businesses that hire and support Veterans.

Contact your elected officials. Voice your support for policies that benefit Veterans, such as increased funding for health care and affordable housing.

Recognize and support caregivers. Support legislation to have caregivers recognized and supported.

Donate to organizations that make a direct impact for Veterans

Support Veteran-focused charities. There are many reputable organizations that provide essential services to Veterans, such as job training, health care and housing assistance. Do your research and choose charities that align with your values.

Donate goods or services. Many organizations accept donations of clothing, toiletries, furniture or even professional services like legal aid or financial planning.

Organizations that effectively apply donations that directly benefit Veterans include the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the West Point Association of Graduates

Volunteer your time

Mentor a Veteran. Share your skills and experience to help a Veteran transition to civilian life or navigate the VA system.

Volunteer at a VA hospital or clinic. Assist with administrative tasks, provide companionship to patients or participate in recreational activities.

Help with fundraising events. Organize or participate in walks, runs or other events that raise money for Veteran support programs.

Offer transportation. Provide rides to Veterans for medical appointments, grocery shopping or other errands.

Share your story. If you are a Veteran yourself, consider sharing your story with others to help raise awareness and understanding.

Pursue small acts of kindness

Thank a Veteran for their service. A simple expression of gratitude can go a long way.

Offer to help. If you see a Veteran struggling with something, offer your assistance.

Educate yourself. Learn more about the challenges Veterans face and ask how you can support them.

Hire a Veteran. If you are an employer, consider hiring a Veteran. Their skills, experience and work ethic can be valuable assets to your team.

If you’re interested in getting involved in supporting Veterans, here are some helpful resources:

Disabled American Veterans (DAV): [https://www.dav.org/]

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW): [https://www.vfw.org/]

American Legion: [https://www.legion.org/]

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans: [https://www.nchv.org/]

The Jed Foundation: [https://www.jedfoundation.org/] (mental health support for Veterans)

Remember, every little bit helps. By getting involved, you can make a real difference in the lives of Veterans.

About Robert A. McDonald

Bob McDonald served Procter & Gamble for 33 years with the last four as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. During his tenure as CEO of P&G, Bob helped to expand the footprint of its company brands.

Following his career at P&G, Bob was selected by President Obama in 2014 to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. While at the helm of VA, Bob was able to help transform the agency into one that truly delivered better care for our Military Veterans.

Bob is currently Chairman of the Board of the West Point Association of Graduates and Chairman of the Board of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. 

For more information about Bob please visit https://www.robertmcdonald.com/.

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