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The Fisher House Foundation: Watch Your Dollars Work

The Fisher House Foundation: Watch Your Dollars Work

 

Contributed by Kris Baydalla-Galasso

 

9 Million days of lodging

 

86 Houses in operation

 

368,000 Families serviced in the past 30 years

 

$451,000,000 in savings to families of injured soldiers

 

 

It’s about to be the most wonderful time of the year – a time for holiday parties and get-togethers, for making lists and checking them twice. In your holiday planning this year, take a moment to remember the organization that gives 93% of every dollar raised back to our servicemen, women and veterans: The Fisher House Foundation.

 

It is always a pleasure to talk to Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of The Fisher House Foundation. A native New Yorker, just the sound of Ken’s voice brings me back home. Just a few minutes into our call, he has my mind racing and my heart pounding with excitement, as his own excitement is contagious to anyone who takes a moment to listen. 

 

Our call this week was specifically about adaptive sports and their importance in the world of healing. Our house is a hockey house – and several members of my family are involved with sled hockey, an adaptation that gives the sport a seat – in a specially designed sled that allows participants to play the game without needing legs. 

 

There is no arguing the benefits of adaptive sports for wounded veterans. These men and women spent most of their careers in top physical shape and a profound injury is life-altering in so many ways. Adaptive sports can provide not only a path to healing – but an outlet for relationship building and friendships with other people who have faced the same physical limitations, difficulties and severity of recovery. 

 

Adaptive sports are just some of the many services available through the numerous Fisher Houses across the country. All of the services available through the Fisher House Foundation have the same goal: improve the life of the wounded warrior so that warrior can heal.

 

The Fisher Houses across the country ensure that the families of the wounded can be near them while they heal. Having the loving support of family nearby is proven to help with the healing process. 

 

There are six Fisher Houses under construction right now – New Orleans, LA, Ann Arbor, MI, Omaha, NE and Huntington, WV are all getting their first Fisher House. Denver, CO is getting their existing Fisher House replaced and Richmond, VA is seeing a second Fisher house built to help address the needs of the population in that community. These houses are being built now – but there are more on the horizon as the Fisher House program continues to grow. Togus, ME and Albuquerque, NM have houses planned for the near future. 

 

The integrity of the Fisher House Foundation is unquestionable. The services provided are invaluable. It is inarguably worthy of your charitable dollars this holiday season, and any other time of year. Giving to the Fisher House Foundation is easier than you think – in fact, there are many ways to give. I personally set up my Amazon Smile account to benefit The Fisher House Foundation – and while my personal contribution hasn’t been outrageous just yet, the organization has received nearly $90,000!

 

You can help make an impact this holiday season. Visit the Fisher House Foundation website to see how you can make a difference in the lives of our healing veterans!

The American Red Cross: Supporting the Military

The American Red Cross: Supporting the Military
 
From the moment when Clara Barton risked her own life and stepped on the Civil War battlefields to help fallen soldiers, the American Red Cross has meant so much to our nation’s military. When people in need see the red cross logo come their way, they know help is sure to follow.
Clara Barton formally founded the American Red Cross in 1881, but her call to service began twenty years earlier when she saw soldiers in need. While her call to service was initially military-driven, Barton’s mission was to help all in need. Today, the American Red Cross serves not only our nation’s military and their families, but also provides disaster relief, blood services, life-saving trainings and more.
There is no doubt that you have seen the American Red Cross logo in your life. There are ample opportunities for you to volunteer your resources as well – from time to money to whole or partial blood donations, everything is used and appreciated. 
To learn how you can help – visit the American Red Cross “Ways to Volunteer” page.
 

 

The Military Order of the Purple Heart: Paying it Forward

The Military Order of the Purple Heart: Paying it Forward

Contributed by Kris Baydalla-Galasso

It’s that time of year in our household: the birthday and holiday season, which means an influx of items into our house which is already stuffed beyond what I find reasonable. There are seven of us in my family, and 5 of our birthdays fall between October 22 and January 4. Combine all of that with Christmas and you have loads of goodies coming through the front door and a desperate need for some gently used items to go out as well.

We do our best to reuse as much as possible and hand down clothes from child to child. Some of the outfits that are currently hanging in my youngest son’s closet have been worn by four other boys before him and we will be passing it along after his next growth spurt. While I love our little system, not everything can be easily handed down and not every family has a system quite like ours.

I happened upon the Military Order of the Purple Heart several years ago during a pre-Christmas purge. Like so many families with young children, I found our house inundated with more stuffed animals than we could reasonably handle. Our standard donation collection location did not accept stuffed animals. The thought of tossing these toys, which were in near perfect condition, prompted me to look for a donation place that would repurpose them into homes that could use them.

 

I did what any Xennial would do – I posted on Facebook and asked for a recommendation. There was one answer that resounded: The Military Order of the Purple Heart.

 

I had never heard of them before that point, but I was convinced within three clicks of a mouse. Since then, it is the only place I donate – and here is why:

 

  1. Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart are combat wounded veterans. These men and women served their country and came home with battle scars. They take their experiences and “pay it forward” by using their energy and resources to help current active duty servicemembers, veterans and all military families.
  2. They pick up at my door. Does it get any easier than that? The Military Order of the Purple Heart has contracted with Green Drop, a charitable organization that both assists in raising funds for its partners and handles the pick up and delivery of donated items. Simply put, Green Drop converts your lightly used items into funds that are critical for the organization of your choosing – in my case, the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
  3. I can schedule my pick ups online. I just pull up GoGreenDrop.com, click on “schedule a pick up” and type in my zip code. They keep track of me by my last name and phone number. Not thrilled with having them come to your door? No problem! There are drop off locations as well (just click on the appropriate drop down).
  4. They email me. I get a confirmation AND a reminder. Let’s be real – I’m a busy mom with five active kids. I’m lucky I remember anything. I need the reminder. My reminder email comes through a day before my pick up and I put my bags by the front door. When I get up the next morning, I put them on my porch (you designate the pick-up location: porch, driveway, front of house, side of house; depending on your home style) and then I don’t think about it again. By the end of the day, the Green Drop folks have stopped by, collected my gently used items and left a receipt to say thank you.
  5. Receipts! Speaking of receipts – I’m married to an accountant so we account for every single item that gets donated. Green Drop/The Military Order of the Purple Heart keeps your donation receipt accessible. So – when tax time rolls around and you need proof of your monthly donations, simply hop on that website again and look up your history by your phone and zip code.
  6. Don’t forget the environmental impact! My donation might end up on a shelf at a second-hand store or be given directly to someone in need. Either way, it isn’t ended up unused (like it was in my house), collecting dust or worse – taking up space in the dump. We donated a bear that could sing and read stories. I love the idea of a little girl or boy listening to those stories and singing along, just like my kids used to do.
  7. Finally – and for me, most importantly – donating to The Military Order of the Purple Heart provides me a way to help when finances are a little tighter than we like them to be. (Remember the five kids? They aren’t cheap.) I don’t always have discretionary funds and sometimes I have to make sure the bills are paid before I can put my dollars towards helping others. Green Drop and the Military Order of the Purple Heart take my donations of goods and turn them into donations that help actual people. I love that.

 

So as you dive into the holiday season, if you are looking to purge in your own household, please consider having Green Drop pick up your gently used items. If this holiday season brings you lots of joy – and lots of items that are brand new but won’t find a use in your home, please have Green Drop pick them up. The Military Order of the Purple Heart could use them and the financial resources that your items will bring.

Here is a comprehensive list of items accepted by Green Drop/The Military Order of the Purple Heart:

Clothing & Shoes

 

All men’s, women’s, children and infant clothing including outerwear, underwear, shoes and boots, jackets, ties, shirts, dresses, blouses, sweaters, pants, hats, gloves, handbags, purses, raincoats and overcoats, swimsuits, sandals, shorts, sleepwear, jeans, T-shirts and formal wear.

 

Household Items

 

Cosmetics and toiletries (unopened), eyeglasses and sunglasses, artificial flowers and trees, umbrellas, yarns and material, knick-knacks, antiques,  jewelry, luggage, buttons, musical instruments, towels, area rugs-6×9 or smaller, Christmas and seasonal decorations, novelties, framed pictures and paintings, yard tools, hardware tools, bedding, draperies, blankets, bedspreads, quilts, sheets, pillows and pillow cases.

 

Kitchenware

 

Cookware and bakeware, dishes, utensils, flatware, silverware, pots and pans, Tupperware, glasses and cups, serving plates and trays and canning jars.

 

Games/Toys

 

Fisher Price and Little Tikes items, bicycles, tricycles, board and other games, stuffed animals, software for Playstation, Xbox and Wii.

 

Small Appliances

 

Irons and ironing boards, sewing machines, microwaves, clocks, hair dryers, electric griddles, blenders, coffee makers and toasters.  

 

Electronics

 

Flat screen TV’s, computer items including towers, printers, flat screen monitors, hard drives, software and accessories, telephones, smart phones, answering machines, portable copiers, fax machines, calculators, stereos, DVD players, video cameras and equipment and radios.

 

Sporting Goods

 

Camping equipment, roller blades, ice skates, golf clubs, baseball, football, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, tennis, lacrosse equipment and accessories, skiing equipment and boots and fitness items.

 

Books, CDs & Videos

 

Hardback, paperback and children’s books, CDs, DVDs, Blue Ray movies, electronics, books and record albums.

 

Small Furniture

 

Furniture weighing less than 50 pounds such as end tables, coffee tables, lamps, night stands, wooden chairs, rocking chairs, stools and plant stands.

 

Do you work with an organization that provides assistance for Active Duty Military, Veterans, Spouses or families? We want to hear your story! Please email [email protected]!