Helping to make sure our veterans aren’t feeling the lonely winter blues, Indiana American Legion Auxiliary Unit 172 delivers seasonal cards with heartfelt messages and joyful coloring pages to veterans in their local nursing homes.
“I think it’s important for us as Auxiliary members, or any member of the Legion Family, to do whatever you can to help keep the veterans’ spirits up, especially in the winter months when they are stuck inside and it’s easier to get depressed,” said Unit 172 member Lisa Garrett.
To show extra love during the dreary winter season, Unit 172 also gifts special Christmas presents to veterans at local nursing homes.
“Giving our veterans a card, or a coloring sheet, or a gift — letting them know somebody is thinking about them — is incredibly important,” said Garrett. “It’s heartwarming to see them appreciate something as small as a card. They smile, and they are so happy — they just appreciate it so much.”
As they persevered through COVID-19 obstacles the past few years, Unit 172 members worked with nursing staff to coordinate safe ways to give gifts and cards to veterans during the holiday season.
“All of our veterans will always have something to open on Christmas,” said Garrett. “Even with COVID, when we couldn’t go in and hand deliver the cards and coloring sheets and gifts, we’d still go and drop them off and they’d pass them out from our Auxiliary unit.”
Other ways Unit 172 helps veterans feel appreciated is by sending care packages to loved ones serving, along with extra Christmas cards inside for them to share with other military personnel. This is also an inexpensive way to spread some joy to those who may not be able to be with their families.
“They don’t always get to come home for Christmas, so if we can send them a care package full of Christmas cards and candy canes, it’s not a lot, but it’s enough to let them know we are thinking about them,” said Garrett. “It’s not an expensive project, but I think it’s one that is appreciated.”
Unit 172 members fill out cards during Auxiliary meetings and in their free time. Garrett takes cards and coloring pages to Junior meetings and asks them to write something special for veterans living in local nursing homes. She also reaches out to elementary school teachers to get students to color some coloring pages.
“I’ve seen firsthand how something so simple as a card or coloring page can put a smile on a veteran’s face — the smallest things really make a difference,” said Garrett. “Anything you can do, they will appreciate it. Just let them know we remember them and they haven’t been forgotten. We care.”
In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.