5 easy ways to support local military families during holiday season

ERIC ALBRECHT/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
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ERIC ALBRECHT/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

This holiday season, there are a few simple ways to give back to military families and veterans who are in need of support in their communities.

In Dayton, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has more 7,000 active duty military service members and 13,000 civilians working on base. There are also approximately 90,000 retirees within a 100-mile radius who also use services at the base, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Check out five ways you can give back to military families across the country:

1. Volunteer or give to an organization focused on PTSD

One in three veterans suffer from PTSD, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Kettering-based American Legion Post 598 supports the Battle Buddy Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization founded by veterans with the mission of assisting veterans who need psychiatric and mobility service dogs. The nonprofit hosts an annual golf tournament to raise awareness and also accepts monetary donations online.

2. Volunteer at a local VA Medical Center

The Dayton VA Medical Center accepts monetary and in-kind donations for patient needs, but volunteers can also work with veterans who are being cared for at the center. The medical center is looking for volunteer drivers who help transport veterans to and from scheduled medical appointments. Other volunteer opportunities include: assisting in Hospice with Celebration of Life meals; assisting at the front desk and welcoming visitors; driving gold carts to transport veterans to and from parking lots; escorting veterans in wheelchairs; and serving in the National Cemetery Honor Guard Squad. Learn more about volunteering at the VA here.

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3. Check in with the Air Force Aid Society

The Air Force Aid Society is the official charity organization of the U.S. Air Force. While donors can give monetary donations monthly or even one time, AFAS also gives spearheads several programs that give back to families who deal with the challenges of active duty Air Force Life. Community programs include: Bundles for Babies, Child Care Programs, Spouse Employment Program and Care Care Because We Care. Learn more about the Air Force Aid Society.

4. Research local nonprofits

Several national and local nonprofits can help you make an impact on veteran and military families right in your community. An Oakwood-based nonprofit The Soldiers Surgeon Inc. is aiming to cover the expense of veterans' medical costs for certain surgical procedures. Learn more about the nonprofit.

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5. Help a homeless veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working to prevent and end veteran homelessness across the U.S. You can your local homeless coordinator here or learn more about how you can help here. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 39,471 veterans are homeless on any given night, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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