Don’t forget our military service members. Help a veteran, a deployed service member and military families know that you appreciate their sacrifices every day, not just on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Help an expectant military mom. Nothing relieves a soldier’s worries more than knowing his family is supported back home. Soldiers’ Angels Baby Brigade is a nationwide network of individuals who sew, knit and create gift baskets to support new and expectant mothers whose husbands are deployed.

Write a letter. Remind veterans and their families that you are thinking about them and appreciate their commitment to our nation. Write a letter to a deployed soldier, a wounded warrior or a veteran who has served in past wars through Operation Gratitude or a military family through Blue Star Families.

Support their furry friends. Raise money toward fostering pets of active duty service members, wounded warriors and homeless veterans. Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet is a nonprofit organization that finds qualified foster families to care for pets while soldiers are deployed or when military families transfer overseas. The foster families also care for pets whose warriors have died.

Contribute to Paralyzed Veterans of America. This organization supports veterans who suffered a spinal cord injury. Participate in one of the organization’s sporting events or fundraisers, donate money or bags of clothing, shoes, belts, hats, books, CDs and small household goods.

Assist disabled and wounded veterans. Volunteer at your local Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital or help disabled veterans whether running errands, doing yard work or assisting them with transportation. Contact DAV for more information. Also, check out the Wounded Warrior Project for other ways to help.

Aid service dogs. PatriotPaws trains dogs to serve disabled veterans. You can volunteer by bathing and walking dogs, running errands or fundraising.

Donate DVDs. DVDS4Vets is a nonprofit organization that provides basic entertainment for veterans who have returned home with traumatic brain injuries and other serious wounds and are undergoing rehabilitation. To donate used or new DVDs, visit their website.

Send a care package. Soldiers who are serving far from home look forward to receiving mail. visit Any Soldier to learn how to send a letter and what is appropriate for care packages. If you’d like to adopt a military family during the holidays, check out Soldier’s Angels Adopt-a-Family program.

Say thank you. If you see a soldier in uniform or a veteran, a simple “Thank you for your service” is a considerate way to express your gratitude. Kids Thank a Vet has lots of tips, information and ideas for kids.

– Christa Melnyk Hines

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