It is unthinkable that those who have served our country should struggle to provide basic necessities for themselves or their families but, it is a harsh reality for many. Veteran drives and military drives are a tangible way to show our gratitude and support for the sacrifice our service members and their families make to protect our country. YouGiveGoods makes running your drive so simple there is no reason not to start one today!

If you take the time to organize a drive, you'll find members of your community are very happy to contribute to ensure the well-being of local service members and veterans.

Before you begin your drive, you'll need to find an organization to partner with. You can search online for local military or veteran service organizations or contact local senior centers or food banks. You may also consider working with a local branch of a national organization like Operation Homefront, Easter Seals or the Salvation Army.

Once you choose the organization, contact them to discuss their needs and your ideas for the drive. Now you are ready to set the dates for your drive, put out donation boxes if you are using them, create flyers, share online and promote, promote, promote!

A new way to run a drive for goods is using the online drive platform, YouGiveGoods. YouGiveGoods drives are easy to set up and run. You share your drive link via email and social media and ask family, friends and your online community to support your cause. We will even save you time by connecting you with a local charity and supplying a most-needed list of items.

Supporters shop online and all good are shipped at the close of the drive directly to your nonprofit partner at no additional charge. No donation bins, transportation or sorting needed! And all donated items are shipped pre-sorted and brand-new.

Now that you see how simple running a drive can be, let's consider the different types of drives you can choose to run to support the military.

  • Military care package drives. Sent to active military personnel, these care packages bring small indulgences and a taste of home to service members abroad. Consider collecting powdered drink mix, granola bars, chips, pretzels, nuts and sandwich crackers. Personal care items like toothpaste, tooth brushes, razors, shave cream, soap and hand sanitizer work well in the package. Entertainment items like magazines, puzzle books, balls and playing cards are also greatly appreciated. Finally, a personal note of thanks or a child's artwork will give your package a wonderful personal touch. Always check with your contact on what NOT to send and restrictions on shipping items like liquids overseas. See how a New Jersey student raised almost 2,000 items for care packages in time for the holidays for New Jersey military men and women deployed around the world.
  • Holiday toy drives for children of military families. Children across the country will celebrate the holidays this year missing a parent who is on active duty in the military. While a toy cannot fill that emptiness, knowing that others recognize and appreciate their sacrifice by receiving an unexpected and fun gift from a stranger can certainly help ease the pain. Start thinking about your military toy drive in the fall to be sure to ship in time for the holidays. Your nonprofit partner can help clarify timing and specific needs in terms of age range and requests. YouGiveGoods has a great assortment of toys for your toy drive. See how Northrop Grumman raised over 700 toys for children of military families using YouGiveGoods.
  • Food and supply drives for veterans. Many veterans struggle financially and rely on support from local veteran service organizations, senior centers and food banks to keep them afloat. Consider a food drive or a personal care drive (razors, shave cream, tooth brushes, etc) specifically benefiting veterans. Drives timed around Veteran's Day offer a great way for people to give a tangible show of support to area veterans at time when they are reminded of their service. If your town holds an annual parade, block party or run, contact the event organizer well in advance and see if you can coordinate your drive effort with their event.

Most Americans feel very grateful for the service and sacrifice of our military. Contributing to a drive gives people a way to actually show their support in action rather than just words. Get your drive underway using YouGiveGoods today!

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