“The littlest things mean so much to our veterans,” Patti Williamson says. “For example, when a veteran has a birthday, several people from the VA take the veteran out for their birthday and give them a card. Sometimes that is the only recognition they’ll receive for that life event.”
Williamson, a radiology imaging technologist, former National VA&R Committee central division chairman and VA Medical Center (VAMC) volunteer, wants others to share in her passion to see our nation’s heroes celebrated – especially during special days.
In preparation for Valentine’s Day, we’ve put together ideas for “Valentine’s Day in a box for veterans” to help you make the day special for veterans in your community.
- Hit the stores, looking for cardboard boxes you can decorate with a Valentine’s Day message and then fill with Valentine’s Day surprises.
- Choose a location to spread the love, such as your local VAMC. You may want to check with the volunteer coordinator there to find out how many veterans you should plan to create valentine boxes for.
- Consider asking your church, coworkers, or American Legion Family for donations to include in the boxes (socks, books to read, magazines, etc.) Provide them with a list of things you’d like to receive. For ideas, ask the volunteer coordinator from the VAMC.
- A really fun way to involve your community is to ask elementary classroom teachers to participate by giving their students the opportunity to make Valentine Day cards for veterans.
- Give the teacher an idea of how many you’ll need and ask that the children sign them with their name and grade level.
- When you assemble the boxes, make sure each box contains at least one valentine from a child.
- Ideas of items to include:
- Different types of prepackaged snacks (When selecting snacks, consider that some veterans may have food allergies or may not be able to eat sugary and salty treats. The volunteer coordinator may be able to let you know about such restrictions among the veterans).
- Donated items.
- Valentine’s Day cards/messages from the elementary school students.
- Arrange a time to deliver the boxes on or before Valentine’s Day.