Portland, OR. Every year, Independence Day serves as a reminder that our freedom is due to the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the Armed Forces. In the last 16 years, 2.5 million men and women have been deployed overseas, all serving voluntarily. They all face the challenges of military service: from multiple deployments that separate family members to recovering from the wounds of war.
If you need help, you will find resources and organizations that help veterans and their families below. If you can donate, supporters say you can make a meaningful difference in the lives of courageous military families, starting today.
Returning Veterans Project Serving Oregon & SW Washington:
We support the healing and health of our veterans and military communities by connecting post-9/11 war zone veterans, service members, and their military families with free, confidential mental and physical health services. Returning Veterans Project (RVP) clients use our online directory to access individualized care from a network of highly qualified volunteer health providers, without any fees or strings attached. Since our founding in 2005, we are removing the barriers to mental and physical health services so that those we serve can have free, confidential access to the care they need.
Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America:
Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America (OPVA), incorporated in 1976, is a chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America. OPVA serves the needs of its Members–U.S. military veterans with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D)–& helps them enjoy the highest possible quality of life. OPVA, Members, Associate Members, Family Members, Volunteers, & allied organizations work to provide leadership and advocacy in • Improving health care & SCI/D research & education • Protecting veterans rights & benefits • Improving awareness of disability rights • Offering sports & health-promotion activities • Increasing accessibility & removing architectural barriers in Oregon, SW Washington, & Idaho. A 501(c)(3) charity, OPVA relies on grants and donations from members of the public.
Travis Manion Foundation:
Dedicated to 1st Lt Travis Manion, USMC, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of his patrol in 2007, The Travis Manion Foundation unites and strengthens communities of veterans and families of the fallen by training, developing, and highlighting each individual’s strengths as role models through programs, events and other training opportunities.
Dog Tag Inc.
Dog Tag Inc. (DTI) is a fellowship program for service-disabled, military spouses, and caregivers who are looking to find community outside of the military. This five month fellowship offers learning labs and a more holistic, wellness-oriented approach to finding personal and professional fulfillment in the civilian world.
Miriam’s Kitchen strives to end chronic homelessness through four key elements that starts with dignity, happens through belonging, continues through change, and is completed with housing. They connect with homeless guests, by providing them nutritious meals, the accessibility to work with case managers to help build a community where each individual feels safe getting the help that they need, and partnering with other service providers and government agencies to change the way homeless services are delivered in Washington.
The Skatepark Project
The Skatepark Project, formerly the Tony Hawk Foundation, has been working with municipalities and community groups to help develop public skateparks that support disadvantaged communities and at-risk children. For Tony Hawk, the organization’s Founder, skateparks provide a safe and inspiring avenue for skaters to practice and excel at their sport, and the process of developing their local skatepark encourages and teaches young people about how to make positive changes within their own communities.
Blue Star Families
With over 200 events a year, Blue Star Families is always in need of passionate volunteers. Blue Star Families’ wide range of programs includes career development for military spouses, fun and educational events for children, caregiver support and most importantly, the chance to build community with their Blue Star Neighbors – individuals, business owners and organizations who create a network of support for military families. Learn more about different volunteer positions that are currently available.
Homes for Our Troops
Housing presents special challenges for disabled veterans who require wheelchair accessibility or other adaptive measures. HFOT builds new mortgage-free homes for disabled veterans so that they, in turn, can build new lives. There are many ways to help HFOT including, acting as a fundraising volunteer, becoming a building partner or running a full or half-marathon with Team HFOT.
The HEADstrong Foundation offers a wide variety of support to cancer patients and their families. Through programs that offer nourishing meals and entertainment to patients, residential housing to the families who may be far from home while their loved one is pursuing a life-saving treatment, and financial aid and a relief fund program to help get through the financial hardships that may arise with a cancer diagnosis.
Team Red, White & Blue helps veterans increase their mental and physical health together as a team. Volunteers at local chapters offer fitness activities, social gatherings and community service events that help facilitate the building of strong local connections with other members and organizations within their communities.
National Military Family Association
The National Military Family Association was founded in 1969 by a group of military wives who wanted to make sure their widowed friends were properly taken care of. Today, they continue their now wide range of support through a multitude of resources and programs including a Spouse Scholarship program, and Operation Purple which offers a children’s camp, family retreats, healing adventures and buddy camp.
VA Voluntary Service
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has many ways to volunteer time or donate funds to help our nation’s veterans, including the Volunteer Transportation Network, Welcome Home Events, Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, National Cemeteries Volunteer, National Salute to Veteran Patients and Student Volunteer Program initiatives.
Veterans Coming Home
Veterans Coming Home, a campaign to bridge the civilian-military divide through public media, has teamed up with nonprofit partners to aggregate a wealth of resources for active military service members, veterans, and their families. Find assistance with everything from healthcare to healing through the arts.
The Military and Veterans Crisis Line
Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for veterans in crisis and their families and friends. If you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of emotional distress, including thoughts of suicide, immediate help is available by calling 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1). Confidential help is also available in a chat online, or by sending a text message to 838255.
Gary Sinise Foundation
This foundation currently has seven programs serving defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need. R.I.S.E. provides adaptive homes and vehicles, and wheel/track chairs; Lt. Dan Band lifts morale for service members at home and abroad; Resiliency + Relief Outreach is for those recovering from trauma and in urgent need; Invincible Spirit Festivals are family celebrations held at military medical hospitals; the Ambassadors Council raises awareness; and Serving Heroes feeds service members in transit at major airports. The foundation supports numerous charities as well.