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Honoring veterans should happen more often than just on Veteran’s Day

Honoring veterans should happen more often than just on Veteran’s Day

Homeless statistics are staggering. According to on any given day, at least 800,000 people are homes in the United States, including more than 200,000 children in homeless families. Of that figure, nearly 60,000 represent our homeless Veterans. Sources vary, but at least 2.3 million people experience homelessness at some time during an average year. Regardless of the catalyst into poverty, no one on the streets deserves to live in less than humane conditions.

That being said, have corporate charitable programs to benefit the homeless become more of a tax right off than a feel good, earn karma points, do something for someone less fortunate activity? I don’t actually know that answer. What I DO know is I will continue to do what I can to make even the smallest difference. When I make a personal effort to volunteer, my return on investment ranges from what might seem insignificant to the colossal.

As quoted by Winston Churchill, if ‘we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.’ So I choose to give. I want to contribute to change that can make a difference.
When I volunteer, gratification comes from making new friends to learning new skills, advancing subject knowledge to making a real difference. Whether you are personally motivated to volunteer, or driven through your employer, the satisfaction of incorporating service into your life will contribute both to your personal growth and increased wellbeing.

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” stated Margaret Mead. I participate in community service projects when offered during industry conferences. At IAMC Forums, I’ve planted trees in Boys Town, cleaned up mountain trails in Salt Lake City, and gardened along the river banks of Cleveland. With CoreNet, I’ve spent a day building a home in New Orleans; IFMA runs an annual collection drive for Toys for Tots where I double dollars spent to increase toys donated.

I get to travel around the country and to the UK. I know how fortunate I am, and I am forever grateful. In turn, I have seen excessive homelessness on the streets of major cities like Baltimore, Denver and Los Angeles. It doesn’t matter why these people are on the streets; it matters that they need to be seen, to receive your kindness. During the closing 20 minutes of every tradeshow I participate in, I’ve taken it upon myself to walk the floor, tote bags in hand, collecting wrapped candies, tissue packets, mini hand sanitizers, unclaimed t-shirts…anything that can be donated to make a difference.

I’ve put smiles on the faces of children in a Baltimore shelter, passing out chocolates and small stuffed bears. In Denver, a cab driver took me and nearly 50 pounds of candy to a mission in an impoverished part of town…and didn’t charge for the fare. In Los Angeles, I walked for nearly 20 minutes looking for the hordes of homeless I’d seen the night before, having been moved from the immediate area surrounding the stadium. My escort, a bell man from my hotel, was my guide and trusted companion. We met Presley, a decorated Vietnam War Veteran who had been living on the streets for nearing 20 years. He called us ‘his angels’ and said because of us, his shanty town would be ‘living large’ and he would be their angel. I needed nothing more than his smile, his joy, his ability to be a hero once more. So in honor of Presley, my grandfather, my father, and all those that have served, I say ‘thank you for keeping us safe.’

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Britany Wright
Posted by Britany Wright
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