Schools and parents are encouraging young children to take a few minutes to write letters, birthday cards, Valentine’s, and Christmas cards to active military members and vets. “Thank you for fighting for our country. I love the color camo. I am nine. Why did you want to go to the military? Thank you for dieing [sic] for our country,” one letter begins. “I love American flags. Do you ever stop working? I love that every hour of every day you fight for our lives. I respect my veterans. How long do you have to sleep? You are very heroic and brave.”
Children’s letters to veterans are popular for several reasons — not least among them being that they are thoughtful, inexpensive, and relatively convenient. Contrary to popular belief, taking an active role in charities — especially ones supporting our troops — can be cheap, free, and/or take next to no time at all. Here are some ideas for giving back without giving up too much time or money:
Take Up Creative Couponing
Sometimes one of the most difficult things to do is ask for help. Many military husbands and wives take pride in being more or less self-sufficient. For that reason, they are often unwilling to ask for a hand. Asking for help and having someone explicitly offer to chip in, however, can be very different. One military mom suggests drawing up creative coupons good for “one night of babysitting,” “two hours mowing the lawn,” or “three hours help with errands.” Gift the coupons on special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays.
Get Your Local Community Involved
Avoid feeling the brunt of charitable efforts by asking your friends, family, and neighbors to get involved. Plenty of events, including pot lucks, charitable pancake breakfasts or barbecues, and events gathering food and clothing donations, are much more manageable with a crew.
Show Your Support Without Leaving Home
Americans short on time can also donate clothes from the comforts of home. Many organizations that collect donations for military families will come right to your home or pick up donations at a communal — and often more convenient — drop-off spot.
Supporting out troops and contributing to donations for military families does not have to be costly. Gift homemade coupons, organize a neighborhood effort, or donate items quickly by going through charities that will pick up clothing and food items at home.