Observe POW/MIA Day by Donating

Observing POW/MIA Recognition Day today can be as simple as writing a card to a former POW, visiting a veterans home or donating to a veteran organization such as the Vietnam Veterans Association (VVA). Helping veterans through VVA’s ClothingDonations.org is easy: Gather up any lightly used clothing and household goods you no longer need or want and call for a free, contactless #donation pickup. VVA will resell your donated goods to thrift and secondhand stores and use the proceeds to help fund veterans programs such as the ones that identify and local MIAs’ cremains and give them a proper burial.

Work Continues to Identify POW/MIAs

Work continues to locate and identify POW/MIAs buried as “Unknowns” in national cemeteries. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency provides the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel from past conflicts, coordinating with hundreds of countries and agencies around the world. Forensic genetic genealogy services can also offer families assistance in locating POW/MIAs and descendants; listen to the “Stories of Sacrifice” podcast to hear profiles of several service members located and commemorate National POW/MIA Recognition Day this year.

The Meaning of POW/MIA Bracelets

While the POW/MIA flag “reminds us to never forget our prisoners of war and missing in action,” says Military.com, bracelets were introduced in the 1970s as a more personal form of remembrance. They are still worn by the friends and relatives of Vietnam’s 725 POWs and more than 1,600 MIAs, as well as those remembering service members imprisoned or missing in action from other wars. Voices in Vital America (VIVA) “distributed nearly 5 million bracelets during the 1960s and 1970s to draw attention to the missing men,” says POW/MIA Families, which continues its work today.

Remembering America’s POWs and MIAs

Celebrated on the third Friday of September, POW/MIA Recognition Day ensures that America remembers to account for those who never returned from war. While Vietnam veterans were instrumental in making the day an annual observance, World War II had the most POWs (130,201) and MIAs (73,515). The POW/MIA flag flies with the Stars and Stripes at the White House on POW/MIA Recognition Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day, and is the only other flag allowed to do so.

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!