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Veterans organizations are making a difference and you can help, too

April 3, 2020

According to U.S. Census data, Dallas County is home to more than 95,000 U.S. military veterans. And, nearly 109,000 veterans live in Tarrant County. Many of these men and women suffer the effects of their sacrifice to such an extent that they have great difficulty being with their families, holding jobs or even finding places to live. They lack the health care, education and employment needed to live rich, happy lives.

Government resources are often not enough or are difficult to navigate — and that’s where the private sector can help. Here are a few North Texas nonprofits that are providing veterans with the assistance they need.

DFW Canines for Veterans

The Mansfield-based organization provides service dogs to combat veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury. Co-founders Melissa and Carrie Caposello work alongside a team of volunteer U.S. military members to train dogs and the veterans who will become their owners.

Ninety percent of the dogs trained by DFW Canines for Veterans come from city kill shelters, and training costs on average $20,000 per dog. Funds come from private donors and corporate sponsors, and 100% of monies donated go toward training and gear. Veterans pay nothing for their service dogs, the training, or a lifelong commitment of camaraderie and support. The group has an Amazon wish list of dog beds, harnesses, leashes and more. Get more information and donate at dfwcaninesd . com.

Homeless Veterans Service of Dallas

Located south of the Dallas VA Medical Center in Lancaster, Homeless Veterans Service of Dallas (HVSD) offers a place for homeless or underserved veterans to use computers, take showers, find meals, do laundry and get a haircut for free. The group also works with the Veterans Administration to provide temporary housing and employment opportunities.

In 2018, it helped open Dallas’ first tiny house community for homeless veterans. HVSD maintains a wish list on its website that includes items such as cereal, flash drives, backpacks, batteries, bus passes, gas cards and rain ponchos for veterans, as well as coffee, bottled water, and towels and washcloths for the center. There are also opportunities to volunteer your time. Get more information and see the full list of needed items at hvsd . org.

Greater Dallas Veterans Foundation

The all-volunteer nonprofit is dedicated to honoring veterans throughout the community and supporting other veterans organizations. It hosts the Greater Dallas Veterans Day Ceremony and Parade, which takes place this year on Monday, November 11, and commemorates the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Ceremonies begin at 11 a.m. in front of City Hall; the parade begins right after.

You can show your support for veterans by attending the parade. Find out how to volunteer or donate with the Greater Dallas Veterans Foundation at greaterdallasveteransfoundation . org.

Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center

Located in Lancaster and created to help female veteran business owners, Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center connects women with one another, public/private-sector opportunities, and services and funding, while also providing personal and professional resources. It operates a co-working space with a coffee lounge and meeting rooms, as well as an affordable conference center.

The organization often needs volunteers in the areas of data entry, social media, event marketing, public relations and building maintenance. There are also opportunities to serve as a mentor or coach to a female entrepreneur. Find out more and sign up to volunteer at veteranwomensec . org.

The Veterans Center of North Texas

One of the biggest challenges facing veterans today is locating qualified service providers that can address their needs. That’s where The Veterans Center of North Texas comes in. The Plano-based, all-volunteer group supports veterans and their families by providing information about and access to (when possible) services such as housing, employment, education, health, financial and legal.

The Veterans Center of North Texas does not charge veterans for assistance, and most affiliated providers offer free or reduced charges for their services as well. Learn more and find out how you can volunteer at veteranscenterofnorthtexas . org

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