How Your Clothing Donations Support Veterans

The Organizing Blog regularly informs readers about the benefits of #decluttering. But did you know that your #donations of lightly used clothing, kitchen items, small appliances and other household goods help fund thousands of veterans programs and initiatives nationwide?

When you contact ClothingDonations.org and make a donation, affiliates of the Vietnam Veterans Association (VVA) pick up that extra junk and resell it in bulk to qualified thrift and secondhand retailers throughout the country. It then takes the money and invests it in programs benefiting veterans and their communities at the local, state and national level.

VVA’s first priority is to help veterans access the healthcare and other benefits to which they are entitled after serving. Some two-thirds of all veterans never interact with the Veterans Administration, missing out on benefits they have earned, and VVA service officers help them navigate the often-confusing benefits claims process.

Funds from contributions also help VVA representatives lobby for and against legislation that would help or harm veterans. Last year, for example, the organization pushed for passage of the Blue Water Navy Act, which would extend healthcare benefits to Navy service members affected by toxic chemical exposures.

VVA offers numerous outreach programs to ensure that veterans are supported long after their service. These sections are targeted to groups such as POW/MIAs, homeless and incarcerated veterans, minority and women veterans, and veterans suffering from PTSD, substance abuse and Agent Orange exposure.

Your donations help VVA’s national membership of more than 70,000 at the local level, too. More than 650 chapters in the United States and its overseas territories use money earned through charitable donations to support college scholarships, help individual veterans facing sudden hardships, and participate in memorial observances.

When you #donate your extra stuff to ClothingDonations.org, it goes toward countless programs that help millions of veterans thrive and give back. We appreciate every bag and box, and thank you for your support!

Rolling Thunder Heads to D.C.

Since 1988, Vietnam veterans who are also motorcycle enthusiasts have staged a Rolling Thunder rally in Washington, D.C., to call attention to the many POW/MIAs who are still unaccounted for from the conflict. Thousands of bikers now participate in the “Ride for Freedom” every year; beginning tomorrow, this year’s Rolling Thunder XXXII will be a three-day event that features a 185-mile ride from central New Jersey, a candlelight vigil, a barbeque, a wreath presentation, guest speakers, a musical tribute and more.

What Your Donations Do for Veterans

If you’ve donated clothing and other household items to ClothingDonations.org in the past, you may be aware that your stuff helps fund programs that support veterans throughout the country. But do you know how, and what your donations fund?

When you give the things you no longer need, the Vietnam Veterans Association (VVA) resells them in bulk to partner thrift and secondhand stores, where other people can shop for great deals on lightly used stuff.

VVA takes the proceeds and uses them to underwrite range of programs. On the national level, the association helps veterans tap government benefits and health care guaranteed to those who have served, and lobbies on behalf of veterans in the nation’s capital.

Aware that war can have challenging health effects for decades after a deployment, VVA offers outreach programs to veterans suffering from Agent Orange exposure, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse.

It offers programs targeted to POW/MIAs and their families, minority veterans, women veterans, and justice-involved and jailed veterans. In other words, it is a comprehensive, wraparound service organization operated by and dedicated to Vietnam veterans.

As Vietnam veterans have aged and the country has continued to engage in overseas conflicts, VVA has expanded its mission to welcome veterans of all U.S. conflicts. “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another” is its motto.

VVA programs are supplemented and supported at the local level by the organization’s more than 500 chapters nationwide. The chapters use some of the money raised through ClothingDonations.org to host educational and social events, honor veterans, and give back to their communities through parades, scholarships and sponsorships.

Last month, for example, dozens of VVA chapters celebrated National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29, hosting luncheons, memorial observances and educational programs around the country to thank veterans living and dead for their service.

While donations to ClothingDonations.org don’t pay for the entirety of the programs VVA offers, the money raised eases the organization’s fundraising burden while providing you — the loyal readers of the Organizing Blog — with an easy, earth-friendly way to get rid of your unwanted stuff.

The nation’s veterans appreciate every donation, and thank you for your support!