April 16, 2014
Everyone buys groceries and they don’t seem to be getting any cheaper in today’s economy. The rising price of groceries has hit families all across the country—especially military families. In fact, grocery prices have recently rises at a higher percentage since 2011. Military families are often split apart in different states or even different countries—depending if a solider is on active duty or not—so the cost for groceries can increase because it is more spread out. Oftentimes you can save money by buying things in bulk, but with a family split apart it is hard to do this because you are not consuming as much food as you otherwise would be.
Fortunately, communities are beginning to help out local troops and military families by rallying behind them in this area that is so incredibly essential to life. Our local grocery store, which also happens to be a national chain, has recently announced that they will be offering two percent off all grocery purchases on Tuesdays for active military families.
Now, two percent doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but that can really add up for a family of four or more people. Not to mention that most grocery stores operate on very very tight profit margins of just 2-5 percent—if they’re lucky. By giving away two percent of their profits to these military men and women, they are essentially cutting their profits down to zero, which when placed in that perspective is incredibly generous, and is added reason we call on the community to support this establishment.
The only thing you have to do to get the two percent discount is to come out on Tuesday of course and bring your military id with you. The discount applies towards all food items minus alcohol. So you can buy and food and grocery items, but no toys, clothing, etc., and no alcohol.
We salute Grocery Max Plus very much for this decision to help out military families all across its 250 nationwide locations. On top of giving these families a two percent discount on all grocery products, they have pledged to give away half of all the savings that these savings to military charities. This is a national initiative, but the headquarters is leaving it up to individual branches themselves to pick which charities are best for their own communities.
This is a great step in the direction for helping out men and women of our armed forces both while they are in service and once they leave the service. As we’ve mentioned in other posts, many veterans are looking for employment and by giving them a discount on essential food items and donating to charities that help them out, Grocery Max Plus is doing some great work to help out the military community.
There are other groups and stores that offer military discounts to military men and women that we have documented elsewhere on this blog, but be sure to check back in often to see what other deals local and nationwide stores are doing.
April 13, 2014
Veterans, just like any other sect of American society, need to be able to provide for their families and put food on the tables for their loved ones. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for veterans is regularly higher than the national average, which shows that we as a country have a lot of work to do to get each and every one of our troops a job once they return home.
The problem arises when troops are reintroduced into civilian society. Military life is very different from civilian life and just like it takes a long time to get used to being in the military, it also takes a long time to get used to being out of the military. There are not always programs available to veterans once they re-enter civilian life, and a lot can change after a 5 or 8 year enlistment. Think about it like this, many of these troops have been out of civilian life for almost an entire decade. Job markets change, communities change, technology changes, a lot of things can change in this amount of time.
One way that many communities are working to solve the veteran unemployment problem is to host veterans job fairs. Veterans have a very special and unique set of skills that are hard to find elsewhere in the job market. Ex-military men and women are used to working with multi-million dollar equipment, both machinery and computer technology; they are disciplined, organized, and punctual. Given their very special skill sets, there are many highly technical positions that these veterans can fill, and employers are seeking them out.
At these job fairs, local businesses are firms all come together to look for new and potential employees from the veteran community. Many of these firms deal specifically in areas that veterans were working in before, like construction, computer technology or engineering.
We’ve seen a number of veterans job fairs around the state and have to say, they really a great resource for these troops. Veterans post on our site all the time looking for employment and every time we see one of these, we refer people to check them out. It’s almost as if there can’t be enough of these jobs fairs. Many of those who posted on the site about finding jobs later emailed us thanking us for the referral and that they were able to get an interview and job out of the job fair.
Like I said earlier, helping troops obtain a job is one of the most important things we can do to help introduce them back into civilian life. Jobs provide structure and organization, something that soldiers become very much accustomed to in the military and something that is difficult to find after getting discharged. Jobs provide stability for them and their families. If you’re at all interested in helping out your local veterans, consider heading up a job fair for returning troops. You local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club would be some good resources to start with and would be more than happy to help you out in your efforts.
April 6, 2014
Being in the military is at times a thankless job. In fact, sometimes it can be even less than that. Anti-war protestors regularly picket and protest soldiers as they come home—or even at their funerals. But why is it treated that way? These brave men and women risk their everyday to keep our nation free and protect us from foreign invaders. In this post, I want to outline a few ways that you can, all by yourself, help honor the military and its heroes each and every day.
Yellow ribbons were first used during the Iran Hostage Crisis as a sign of support for the hostages that were being held in Tehran. They have now grown into a much larger and broader statement and the military and supporting our troops. Something that many households do is tie a yellow ribbon around a tree near the road in their front yard as a sign of support for the American troops. This is an incredible statement that speaks volumes to local military men and women in a community. Not only is this a huge sign of support for the soldiers themselves, but it is also very heartwarming for the parents and other relatives of soldiers. It lets them know that their children are being thought of; that they are not the only ones thinking about the troops and hoping they are safe. It is a sign of warmth to these parents.
This doesn’t need to be a big fancy bow; just a small gesture that shows your support for these soldiers. The ribbon can be bought at any arts and crafts store. Be sure to get one that is at least an inch wide so people will be able to see it on the tree. Once you get it, tie a bow around a tree near the road, and you can be sure that it will make someone’s day.
Now, we know this sounds cheesy, but car magnets can function in much of the same way that ribbons do.
Write a Letter of Support
Even if you don’t know anyone personally who serves in the military, odds are someone you know, whether it be their son, cousin, or brother, is in the military. Take just a minute to write him or her a letter and let them know that their service is recognized and appreciated. One of the most difficult parts of being in the military is being away from all of your friends, family, and loved ones. You rarely interact with anyone from back home and getting a personalized letter from someone in your hometown area would be very special to a soldier.
If you don’t feel comfortable writing a soldier directly, you can always write a letter to your local paper voicing your support for the troops. Most papers accept letters to the editor and will print what you write in to them.
These are a few ways that you can, all by yourself, show your support for the troops and make a meaningful impact on them. We hope you give them a try!