Three Ways Your Donations Might Help Improve the Life of a Veteran

Purple heart veterans pick up

Did you know that an estimated 99% of all the clothing and fabric that gets tossed away in the trash here in America is eligible to be recycled or reused in some way? Seems rather disappointing when you think about it, mounds of old sweaters and ragged jeans wasting away in trash heaps when so many people live in poverty without such luxuries. In fact, according to a Huffington Post report from fall 2013, nearly 50 million people are currently poor in America. Now ask yourself: what’s the real value of charitable contributions like old clothing?

Recent estimates put the annual contribution rate of Americans at $300 billion — an outstanding figure. Most of that money, however, comes as actual money. To make a difference, you really don’t have to be as bold. Simply gathering up some old T-shirts and bringing them to a local clothing donations bin can be equally as effective (and much more immediate, too). Often, the best charities to donate to are the ones right in your own neighborhood.

Now, we can’t talk about charity without mentioning one of the worst-suffering groups in the American population — combat veterans. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that unemployment among vets aged 18 to 24 was over 20% in 2012, and an estimated 27% of all vets have nearly $100,000 in credit card debt. Why? Blame the double-edged sword of modern advancements.

Soldiers are surviving more wounds, bringing on more complications.

There’s no denying the astonishing progress that’s been made in the medical field over the past 50 years or so. Because of innovations in medicine, soldiers are receiving better treatment on the battlefield itself, leading to fewer combat deaths. But with life-altering injuries come a slew of life changes, including crippling veteran medical costs for the rest of their lives. Is the credit card debt statistic above really that big of a surprise?

Hundreds of thousands are grappling with PTSD every day.

Donations to veterans are important for many reasons, but one of the most crucial is because of the stigma among vets about mental health issues. Reports show that 228,875 soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2012, and the VA simply can’t keep up. If you know a vet, there’s one important donation you can make — your time.

Homelessness among vets has become an epidemic.

Though the Obama administration has set a goal to completely eliminate vet homelessness by 2015, there’s quite a bit of skepticism about this actually being accomplished. The facts are staggering, with over 100,000 (but perhaps even 200,000) currently homeless vets roaming the cold streets. If you don’t think you’ll ever wear that one winter jacket again, why not donate it to shelter or a clothing drop-off bin? It’s donations to veterans like these that help keep some of them warm at night.

For more information on how you can give donations to veterans, find a local charity organization. You never know how far your clothing, your money or even your time might go. Read more like this.

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