(ARA) - Do you carry a deep appreciation for soldiers of past and present wars, but aren't quite sure how to show it? There are a number of ways, big and small, to express your support that can directly affect the life of a veteran in a positive way. According to a recent survey conducted by Sears, nearly half of Americans surveyed said they plan to volunteer, donate to a military related cause, or thank a veteran this Patriot Season (Armed Forces Day through Labor Day). Here are a few quick tips on how to show your gratitude for a veteran this Patriot Season and throughout the year: * Donate money to charities that help veterans. A great way to give back is to support organizations such as Heroes at Home and Rebuilding Together as they build, repair, improve or modify homes for veterans. Your donation can help extend the impact of the work these organizations do that affects thousands of lives. * Volunteer with organizations that help veterans. Get your hands dirty and your family involved. Many organizations can benefit just as greatly from your time as they can from your money. The Sears Heroes at Home initiative is just one of many that support veterans and rely on the help of volunteers. Check with local volunteer organizations to find a veteran-focused charity that is of interest to you. Your local American Legion or VFW post is a good place to start if you need help finding a charity. * Send a care package to a soldier serving overseas. A simple way to bring a smile to the face of a serviceman or woman is to send a package of fun items: candies, cookies, books, games, magazines - any taste of home. There are a number of organizations that coordinate the sending of care packages to soldiers stationed across the world. Operation Gratitude is one of many organizations that coordinate these efforts, and your local veterans organizations may be able to help put you touch with groups that support soldiers from your community. * Shop at stores that make efforts to employ or otherwise help veterans. In the same survey, an overwhelming majority of Americans (78 percent) also said they were more likely to support a company or brand that supports veterans or wounded warriors. Today's veterans face numerous challenges when reintegrating into civilian life - one of which is finding steady employment. You can help ease this transition by supporting businesses that are committed to hiring veterans and supporting reservists on staff who get called into active duty. For example, Sears provides recruitment programs to help place veterans in jobs within their organization and will hold positions for deployed veterans for up to five years. There are also a number of nonprofit organizations that help provide job skills and career counseling for veterans, which could also use your support. Now that you are armed with ways to show your appreciation to those who have answered the call of duty, it's time to put your plan into action. Whether you decide to volunteer, donate money or send a veteran something to brighten their day, it only takes a few moments to show your gratitude to those who have dedicated their lives to serving our country.
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