While spending time with family and friends this Thanksgiving, let's take a moment to honor those who have made a sacrifice to serve their nation. And, as the holiday shopping season approaches, consider taking a moment to support these area nonprofits making a difference in veterans' lives.
Throughout the year, CultureMap has been highlighting organizations that make our communities a better place as part of our new Austin Charity Guide, presented in partnership with Frost's Opt for Optimism campaign. The guide is a handy resource for anyone looking to give back this season.
This month, we are honoring the charities that support Americans who don’t always get to spend holidays at home — our military veterans and other uniformed heroes. If we missed a worthy nonprofit, please let us know here.
Caritas of Austin
Mission: Caritas of Austin believes that when every person has a stable place to call home, they can realize their full potential and contribute to the community. The organization works to build wellbeing by making sure that people have a safe home, access to healthy groceries, jobs that provide a reliable living wage, and educational opportunities to learn life skills. The innovative, personalized, and proven approach to building wellbeing and ending homelessness creates a more vibrant Austin for everyone. In addition, since 2011, Caritas of Austin has been a leader in the local efforts to end veteran homelessness.
Get Involved: Whether it's serving a nutritious lunch, working with clients directly to achieve their life goals, or supporting staff members to make their programs even stronger, volunteers help Caritas of Austin end homelessness. Head here for more information on getting involved.
Membership: Sign up to become a monthly donor here.
Big event: Words of Hope
Operation Finally Home
Mission: Based in New Braunfels, this national organization provide homes and home modifications to America’s military heroes and the widows of the fallen who have sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms. OFH brings together corporate sponsors, builder associations, builders, remodelers, developers, individual contributors, and volunteers to help these heroes and their families by addressing one of their most pressing needs — a place to call home.
Get involved: Learn how to donate via cash, check, bequest, or insurance policy here. OFH also takes applications for builders, contractors, and more. Find out more information here.
Membership: Make a monthly donation here.
The Comfort Crew for Military Kids
Mission: The Comfort Crew for Military Kids delivers proven resources to help military kids and their families connect and build resiliency in the face of extraordinary challenges.
Get Involved: Donate or consider becoming volunteer with the Comfort Crew if you live near Austin. There are scheduled times to build Comfort Kits at the Comfort Crew's home office, and outreach events like the Camp Mabry Open House and Hood Howdy. If you are interested in volunteering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big event: Boots and Birdies Charity Classic
Make a Vet Sweat
Mission: Make a Vet Sweat serves Texas veterans with combat-related disabilities and their spouses by offering free three-month group fitness gym memberships to those battling PTSD. The holistic coping alternative promoted stress relief, encourages physical activity, and provides a support system in team-based activity.
Get involved: Donate by credit card or check here. Fitness companies can find out how to become a partner here.
Big event: The Gala Party
Mission: Founded in 2003 by the mother of two American soldiers, Soldiers' Angels is a national nonprofit that provides aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard; their families; and the growing veteran population. Hundreds of thousands of Angel volunteers assist veterans, as well as wounded and deployed personnel and their families, in a variety of ways.
Get involved: The organization has 12 different teams. They range from the Angel Baker Team, which bakes homemade treats, to the Sewing and Crafting Team, which sew blankets for veterans, to the Deployed Adoptions Team, which “adopts” a service member. The team opportunities are virtual, so you can bake goodies, sew blankets, or adopt a soldier no matter where you live. In addition to the virtual teams, Soldiers’ Angels also offers “boots on the ground” opportunities for volunteers within VA hospitals and medical centers. Volunteers and staff coordinate events and activities for veterans at VAs and have the opportunity to participate in patient visits to distribute comfort items. Learn more about getting involved with Soldiers' Angels programs here.
Membership: Make a one-time or recurring donation here.
Wounded Warrior Project
Mission: The Wounded Warrior Project mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors who incurred a physical or mental injury, illnesses, or wound, co-incident to military service on or after September 11, 2001. You may also be eligible for the program if you are the family member or caregiver of a Wounded Warrior.
Get involved: WWP offers a wide range of opportunities to host a fundraiser or simply participate in one. Whether you're looking to spend time or money helping those who've served us, find a way to get involved here.
Big event: Wounded Warrior Project hosts the annual Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner. At this gala, WWP's most passionate supporters are recognized for their service and dedication to WWP's mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. The event, which takes place in New York City, fuels the critical support necessary for WWP to offer warriors a range of specialized programs and services — all tailored to each veteran's specific needs — free of charge. For information on events in Austin, click here.