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Match your skill with organizations that help military families

If you’re looking for a way to give back to the military community other than …

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David Cunningham, director of Psychological Health (DPH) for the 163rd Attack Wing, takes a moment for a photo with the wing's therapy dog named Jax. Jax is a German Shepherd who is completing training as a certified therapy dog for the 163rd Attack Wing at March Air Reserve Base. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Master Sgt. Julie Avey)

If you’re looking for a way to give back to the military community other than donating money, there are plenty of opportunities. Whatever skill or hobby you have, chances are there is a way to use it to help service members, veterans and their families. Here are some ways to give back through your time and talents:

If you knit

U.S. Army

Related: 6 nonprofit organizations that serve our military veterans

Navy Marine-Corps Relief Society gives homemade baby blankets to expectant mothers who attend their free Budget for Baby workshops, to help families create a budget as they add to their family.

If you read

Operation Paperback is a national, non-profit organization, whose volunteers collect gently-used books and send them to American troops overseas, as well as veterans and military families at home. Since 1999, they have shipped over 2.9 million books. I have donated many books through them, and they make the process really easy.

If you’re a photographer

U.S. Air Force photo

Operation Love: Reunited offers free photography sessions for military families dealing with deployments. The organization hosts all the client proofs and providing the cost of prints and shipping overseas. Note: This is such an impactful service for military families. I used this organization for three deployment homecomings, and it meant so much to me. You can also ask to use the photos on your website to help your business.

If you’re a businessperson

SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. Their network of more than 10,000 mentors meet with veteran and military entrepreneurs via phone, video, or email to answer their business questions. You can also directly help individual entrepreneurs achieve success and make a positive impact on business owners in your community.

If you write

Operation Military Matters sends care packages every month to members of the military who are assigned overseas. Every package includes a thank you note. Send your letter to PO Box 8132 Seminole, FL 33775 and we will add it to one of our care packages.

If you bake

help military families
Chief Master Sgt. Guillermo Castillo’s family preparing a care package for him while he was deployed to Kandahar Afghanistan in 2013 (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Katie Gar Ward)

Related: Companies that will send free stuff to deployed troops

Soldiers’ Angels enlists volunteers to send cookies, brownies, cakes and other delicious treats to deployed servicemembers.

If you fly a lot

Fisher House operates a network of homes at major military and VA medical centers nationwide where military and veterans’ families can stay for free while a loved one is receiving medical treatment. It also operates a Hero Miles program and a Hotels for Heroes program that both accept donated frequent flier airline miles and hotel points to help veterans’ family members travel to their bedside and stay at a hotel for free.

If you love to meet new people

Honor Flight flies veterans to Washington for free so that they can visit memorials built in their honor. Top priority is given to World War II survivors, along with veterans who may be terminally ill. You can volunteer to escort the vets on the flight or greet them at airport departures and arrivals.

If you run

Wear Blue: Run to Remember is a nonprofit running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military. They invite runners, volunteers, and supporters from both military and civilian communities to help us build a living tribute to the fallen, the fighting and the families of the U.S. military.

If you love animals

help military families
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman)

K9s for Warriors rescues and trains shelter dogs to be paired as Service Dogs for Warriors with service-connected post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury or sexual trauma. Volunteer to be a puppy raiser.

If you quilt

Quilts of Valor is another charitable organization accepting quilted blankets for former service members. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover all service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. 

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Feature image: U.S. Army National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Julie Avey

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