ESA’s support for military personnel and their families began during World War II. After the war, ESA chapters were often organized near military bases and among military families whose membership assisted them in keeping connected as they moved to new assignments around the world. Much of ESA’s early international growth was a result of military members forming new chapters as they moved to new bases.
Hope for Heroes is specifically directed at providing membership support for military personnel and their families. The program recently evolved to include an annual ESA Hope for Heroes national event held each year in November, on or around Veteran’s Day. This week of celebration includes recognizing veterans, sending greetings to local military personnel who are serving abroad, and organizing additional activities to supply locally known troops with goods and materials to share with service personnel who are far from home.
Activities for ESA’s Hope for Heroes continue throughout the year. Individual members and chapters often partner with other veterans’ organizations, military support groups, and military hospitals to provide a variety of materials for families, returning soldiers, and wounded warriors. All of ESA's efforts are intended to assist in meeting the needs of the individual recipients, but also to lift their spirits and feel the gratitude that ESA members feel for their service.
The types of services provided by ESA vary by chapter and by the specific services that military support groups request. However, most often, ESA members send care packages to deployed troops, provide meals for homeless veterans, help families when they are away from their loved ones, stock base food banks, and much more.
REMEMBER THE OLD DAYS WHEN SOME OF US USED TO CLIP MANUFACTURER’S COUPONS AS A PHILANTHROPIC PROJECT?
WELL, YOU CAN STILL DO THAT THROUGH THIS PROGRAM.
And, if you look on the web, there are some sources where you can do this and send the coupons DIRECT to listed U.S. military bases abroad. I know of at least one Florida chapter that sends their coupons to a base in Tokyo.
Stamps for the Wounded Program
Are members of your chapter looking for another “easy-to-do” philanthropic activity? Something anyone can do? Something that can be done from Many wounded veterans find great enjoyment in stamp collecting. Thanks to the Lions’ Club and to many devoted volunteers, this postage stamp
program gives these hospital or wheelchair-bound vets something to do, and something to look forward to. Trading duplicates also connects them with other collectors.
What can stamps do? Miracles, almost. Stamps and covers can give bedridden patients long-treatment patients, and convalescent patients, a consuming interest. They can sort and mount stamps without effort if confined to bed. If they are ambulatory, or even in a wheelchair, they can pass happy hours soaking stamps and mounting them in albums. Even the far-withdrawn, mentally disabled patient can take pleasure in using the more common stamps to make fanciful greeting cards, or to cover decorative boxes in organized therapy sessions. Recycle the stamps from your own mail to “brighten someone’s day!”
Leave about a 1/2 inch border of envelope around the perforations of the stamp. Do not remove the stamp from the envelope it is glued to. The veterans prefer to do that themselves. It’s part of their fun.
Such a simple, easy way to give back to our service men and women who have given so much. Please tell your friends about this and ask them to save their stamped envelopes for you. For those of you who work in an office, perhaps handling your company’s mail, save those stamped (not metered ones) envelopes. Or, ask others in your office to save them for I’ll make this project easier for you… collect the stamped envelopes and bring them to me at an ESA state meeting (Mid-Year, Leadership, Convention, Board meeting…). Or, trim them from their envelope (leaving ½ inch space around each) and give them to me that way. I’ll include them with other collections and mail them to the Lions Club Stamps for the
Wounded program in Falls Church, VA.
It was started in 1942 to support our wounded warriors. Time is not of essence in this project! Postage stamps are not date sensitive.
See the Lions website for more information on this program (http://writealetter.org/main/
LOOKING FOR EXPANDED REWARD IN YOUR PHILANTHROPIC PROGRAMS THIS YEAR?
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT FISHER HOUSE?
Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.
Today, there are 66 homes located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, in Germany and in the United Kingdom, close to the medical center or hospital they serve. Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee. Since inception 25 years ago, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $320 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.
Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles program, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge. The Foundation also manages a grant program that supports other military charities and scholarship funds for military children, spouses and children of fallen and disabled veterans.
By the Numbers
Families served: More than 27,000 in 2015
Daily capacity: 931 families
Families served: More than 277,000 since inception
Number of lodging days offered: Over 6 million
7,000 students have received $11,000,000 in scholarship awards
Over 58,000 airline tickets provided by Hero Miles to service members and their families, worth nearly $88 million
SAMPLE WISH LIST
Bay Pines VAHCS Fisher House Wish List
Bay Pines Fisher House
10,000 Bay Pines Blvd.
Bay Pines, FL 33744
The Fisher House operates on donated funds. Items on the Bay Pines Fisher House wish list reflect items that are either one-time needs or on-going needs of running the house. Every donation helps make the Fisher House a home for our veteran’s families.
Donations are accepted Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please call the Fisher House Manager to make arrangements to drop off donations at 727-319-1350. Without the donations from the community the Fisher House would not be the success it is. All donations are appreciated by our families.
We do not accept “cash” contributions. Checks should be payable to Bay Pines VAHCS with the memo section of the check indicating: Fisher House GPF # 1093
Gift Cards allow ease in picking up items needed for the Fisher House. For the Fisher House consider Wal-Mart, Publix, Winn Dixie, Target, Kohl’s Home Depot, Lowes, Sam’s Club or general VISA or MasterCard gift cards.