Veterans are Facing a Grim Thanksgiving Reality but One Organization is Making a Huge Impact

    Daniel Ramirez from Honolulu, USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

    With Thanksgiving less than one week away, some of America’s greatest patriots are still questioning whether they’ll be able to put food on the table for their families.

    While President Joe Biden seems content ignoring America’s heroes the Coalition to Support America’s Heroes is stepping in to pick up the slack.

    In 2004, the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes was established to ensure that in return for the sacrifices they made for us during the war on terror, wounded veterans and their families would receive all the support needed to restore their hope and rebuild their lives. Now, the Coalition is working to make sure every veteran has a Thanksgiving feast of their own. However, as one of the sole nonprofits providing direct emergency relief funds for veterans, they work overtime with limited resources as the organization experiences a downturn in charitable giving.

    Out of more than 40,000 veteran service organizations (VSO) the Coalition to Support Americas Heroes is the only nonprofit organization that provides direct emergency relief funds, veterans are often directed to the Coalition by VSOs, Veterans Affairs, or other non-profits like the Wounded Warrior Project.

    This Thanksgiving is already facing roadblocks due to sky-high inflation but coupled with a record amount of requests for help from veterans means the Coalition is struggling to keep up with demand. Each year, the Coalition gives hundreds, or even thousands of veterans funds to help alleviate the financial pressure that inevitably comes around the holidays.

    However, according to the American Farm Bureau Association, the costs for holiday staples such as turkey, sweet potatoes, and stuffing have surged since the same time last year.

    The price of a 16-pound turkey has risen from $23.99 last year to $28.96, marking a 21% increase as an outbreak of the avian flu impacts poultry flocks across the country. The costs for cubed stuffing mix, one dozen dinner rolls, and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix have surged 69%, 22%, and 18%, respectively.

    Coalition president and CEO David Walker says that the organization is now seeing an unprecedented need from struggling veterans as the country rebounds from a years-long COVID-19 pandemic which also exacerbated mental health issues and suicidal urges in veterans. With Thanksgiving around the corner, more than 240 calls have come into the Coalition in the past week, which is three times the number of calls from the first two weeks in October.

    “The need that the Coalition provides is as essential now, if not more so than when we started because the battlefront has moved into the home,” Walker said. “Veterans call in using words like ‘evict’ or ‘repossess’ and the Coalition steps in to prevent them from using words like homelessness, divorce, or suicide.”

    A Marine, identified as C.T. for privacy purposes, served in Iraq where he suffered a serious spinal injury during his tour. After C.T. returned home from his tour he found that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) hindered his ability to find a reliable job and he found himself in debt and facing eviction. The Coalition to Support America’s Heroes immediately intervened and paid C.T.’s debt and is currently working to place him in a job where he feels at ease and where his PTSD won’t be a problem.

    “This was one of the most amazing surprises, the dollar amount is awesome my kids and I would like to Thank you!! But the thought of you guys not leaving me and my dependents BEHIND means more than anything,” another veteran wrote to the Coalition.

    “Every year is hard being away from my children, this act of kindness from your organization is more than thoughtful it’s priceless. Not just saying you care but showing it. My Goal is to help Veterans once I address some Mental and physical issues.
    This has relieved some pressure financially and giving some motivation. I SALUTE you guys!” J.D. continued.

    A.K, another Coalition recipient, was awarded a purple heart after being struck by a mortar while serving in the Army in Iraq while her husband and child waited for her to return home. A.K. sustained severe injuries, a traumatic brain injury, and suffers from PTSD due to her brave service in Iraq. However, sky-high inflation coupled with unexpected home repairs caused A.K. to fall behind on mortgage payments, putting her family at risk of eviction. Thanks to the Coalition’s tremendous work A.K. and her family managed to catch up on their bills and will get to spend the holiday together giving thanks.

    One veteran living in southern California expressed gratitude to the organization, “I just want you to know how happy
    this organization has made me; you have given me a sense of relief and joy during a very difficult year. I am so thankful for everything this organization has done for me and for all me fellow brothers and sisters in and out of uniform.  Thank you for thinking of me when I didn’t think anyone was.”

    With only days until Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, America’s heroes deserve support and comfort, and now is the time to say “thank you” to those to have sacrificed so much.

    Follow the link HERE to contribute and give a veteran a Thanksgiving meal!



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