By Buddy Blouin

May is Military Appreciation Month, a great time to reflect on the sacrifice of those who are currently serving, have served before, and the community in general. There are many different ways to celebrate Military Appreciation Month for civilians and enlisted alike. Here are five great ways to make the most of the event:

1. Take Advantage of Discounts

Throughout Military Appreciation Month, you’re going to find discounts and deals available.

These vary heavily depending on where you live. Luckily, if you’re in the American Armed Forces, it’s a great time to take advantage of some deals.

Not everyone offers Military Appreciation Month discounts specifically, but as awareness spreads, more and more businesses are looking for ways to give back for the sacrifice necessary to maintain our freedom.

To help get you started, here are some brands offering discounts throughout May:

  • Academy Sports+Outdoors
  • Ashley Furniture
  • Aveda
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Blue Star Museums
  • Clique Hospitality
  • Holland America
  • L.L. Bean
  • Legoland
  • Michaels
  • Sleep Number
  • Vail Resorts

Some brands are offering free access, others simply discount goods and services, and as always, eligibility will depend on the location.

Be sure to present your military ID throughout May and to speak with your local store about what’s available.

2. Reach Out to Military Families

Serving in the military affects the entire family and it’s important to give support to those in our lives with loved ones enlisted.

Doing the little things, like being a good neighbor, lending a helping hand, or an ear to listen can go a long way.

You don’t have to be heavily involved nor should you be intrusive; however, watching a movie together, going out to lunch, or inviting a military family over to your home can foster community and build support.

3. Give Back Through Military-Focused Charities

National Military Appreciation Month is a great time to take a step back and provide support to the military community; however, it can be difficult to know where to get started.

Fortunately, there are several nonprofits, charities, and organizations dedicated to helping military communities through methods you can trust.

Here are a few great opportunities to make an impact within the military community through trusted organizations that make it their mission to support our nation’s heroes:

  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
  • Fisher House Foundation
  • Honor Flight Network
  • Hope For The Warriors
  • K9s for Warriors
  • Semper Fi Fund
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
  • United Service Organizations (USO)
  • Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)

4. Volunteer and Participate in Events

If you’re looking for a hands-on approach to giving back to the military community during Military Appreciation Month, it’s always a great idea to get involved directly.

Donations are great but manpower is still needed to make charities operate. Additionally, May is filled with events, especially during Memorial Day weekend.

You’ll find both local and national efforts are ramped up during the month and can always use volunteers.

Find a military cause near and dear to your heart in your area and inquire about providing yourself for a few hours as needed.

5. Send a Care Package

Who doesn’t love a care package? It’s a great way to show on a personal level that someone is thinking of you and is perfect for May.

Nothing says “Happy Military Appreciation Month” quite like a care package, just be sure to double-check what you can and can’t include according to the deployment location of the troop you are looking to gift.

Not sure what to send? No problem. The USO Care Package Program is a great way to send care packages to loved ones.

There are many ways to honor the sacrifice of this nation’s heroes. Find which works best for you and get the most out of your Military Appreciation Month celebration!

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