“To go into the world and help to be agents and instruments of God’s reconciliation. To go into the world, let the world know that there is a God who loves us, a God who will not let us go, and that that love can set us all free.” – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Serving our active duty military, their families, and veterans is a wonderful way of serving God. Being a volunteer means being God’s representative in places where people did not expect God to be found. Being a volunteer strengthens your relationship with God. Serving is not hard. If we do all things with love, serving others is a joyful experience.
Volunteering with our San Diego-based military is an opportunity for us to share God’s love by becoming ambassadors for Christ. Volunteering and serving helps you develop and even discover unique spiritual gifts and skills you did not know you had.
The Armed Services YMCA says,” Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. Your hands do so much good for the heart. Each year we rely on more than 10,000 volunteers to donate over 112,000 hours to deliver meaningful programs and vital services for active military families. Your volunteerism makes a difference in the lives of so many and helps the ASYMCA, and its branches nationwide save $2.5 million in costs annually.”
Bottom line: without volunteers, many of the organizations listed below would simply not be able to carry out their mission. Supporting American service members, military spouses, and military families in around the globe is not only a patriotic expression but a spiritual expression of who we are as Christians. Every day, America’s service members selflessly put their lives on the line to keep us safe and free. Please take a moment to let our troops know how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice by offering your time and talents.
One of the ways Episcopalians in San Diego can make a difference in the lives of our military is by volunteering. Serving military families is possible through volunteering in organizations that are already serving the military. Here are some organizations that could benefit from your time and talents.
Armed Services YMCA
https://www.asymca.org/sdvolunteer Here you will find many opportunities that will put you in direct contact with active duty military and their families.
Navy Marine Corps Relief Society and Thrift Shop (Camp Pendleton, Miramar and San Diego). Volunteers have been the backbone of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society for more than 100 years. They make up more than 90 percent of our workforce. Volunteers make it possible for our donated funds to directly assist Sailors, Marines, and their families. https://www.nmcrs.org/pages/about-volunteering
Rotary Club (Camp Pendleton)
Blue Star Families
Volunteer to further our mission to be the bridge between military and civilian communities. There are plenty of opportunities that can fit your schedule — from supporting holiday campaigns to helping us grow our social media presence, hosting meet-ups in your community, and more. https://bluestarfam.org/volunteer/
Marine Corps Community Services
Miramar Volunteer Program
Miramar’s Volunteer Program (MVP) offers a variety of services to military personnel, family members (to include youth), veterans, and installation employees. The Volunteer Program strives to provide learning opportunities, training, job experience, development of interpersonal relationships, and networking. MVP strives to provide each volunteer with a sense of well-being, spirit of community and experiences that will be fulfilling to both the volunteer and the person and/or the organization with which the volunteer works. http://www.mccsmiramar.com/volunteer-opportunities/
Veteran Support Organizations
United Service Organizations (USO)
The USO is a nonprofit organization that provides recreation-type services, care packages, and entertainment to our servicemen and women, as well as their families, both locally and overseas. The USO provides free internet and email access to our deployed troops, housing assistance, support groups, family counseling, entertainment, and more. With more than 160 locations worldwide, there are plenty of opportunities for military spouses to get involved and help out.
Volunteers can get involved in a number of ways. They can cheer on the troops as they arrive home from a deployment, or help out at sponsored events for service members and their families such as concerts, air shows, and fun runs. If you cannot take the time to volunteer, then the USO is always accepting monetary donations as well.
For more information on becoming a volunteer, visit the USO website to fill out an application and find opportunities in your area. https://www.uso.org/
Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project is a program aimed at helping those service members who have been injured in the line of duty. WWP was created after 9/11 to help the staggering number of wounded troops returning home from the combat zone. According to their website, for every one service member killed in action, seven are wounded — which comes to almost 50,000 servicemen and women injured since 2001. WWP works to help those who have suffered serious issues from combat, as well as their families. This is a great organization to get involved with if you want to help those who are suffering physical or mental injuries as a result of their service.
WWP offers event-based volunteer opportunities, which can be found here on the WWP website. Other volunteer opportunities include offering emotional support to wounded warriors and their families through letters or donations, helping wounded warriors get to and from doctors appointments or volunteering time at fundraising events. https://www.uso.org/
In Fiscal Year 2021, over 25,000 Volunteers served more than 2.6 Million Volunteer Hours. Individuals and partnering organizations gave over $101 Million in Gifts and Donations. Value added to VA – more than $175 Million! https://www.volunteer.va.gov/
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