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Top 5 Charities to Donate to in Honor of Memorial Day

With Memorial Day sales spewing from your inbox and blaring non stop from your TV as well as the hoards of people heading out of town to rev up the grills and celebrate what is known as the official start of summer, the true meaning of this holiday is often lost and completely forgotten.

The fact is that Decoration Day (aka Memorial Day) was first recognized in 1882 to remember the men and women who died while serving. Along the way, it was changed to what we now know as Memorial Day, but the significance has seemed to disappear.

So this Memorial Day, honor the fallen and pay tribute to the active and retired service men and women by giving back. By paying it forward - whatever the amount or time may be - will forever make an impact on these lives. Because after all, without them, we may not have the right we all call freedom.

Operation Homefront

Mission: Financial and recovery assistance for wounded service members.

About: OH provides programs that offer: RELIEF (through Critical Financial Assistance and transitional housing programs), RESILIENCY (through permanent housing and caregiver support services) and RECURRING FAMILY SUPPORT programs and services throughout the year that help military families overcome the short-term bumps in the road so they don’t become long-term chronic problems.

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Puppies Behind Bars

Mission: Helps to mitigate the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and TBI (traumatic brain injury).

About: Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans and explosive-detection canines for law enforcement. The puppies live in prison with inmates from the age of eight weeks to 24 months. Once trained, the service dogs are placed, free of charge, with returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Milestones: Since 2008, the organization has paired 66 service dogs with wounded veterans in 26 states, and trained more than 350 explosive-detection dogs to work with law enforcement agencies around the country.

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Homes for Our Troops

Mission: Builds mortgage-free and specially adapted houses for multiple amputees and veterans with traumatic brain injuries.

About: Started in 2004, Homes for Our Troops helps severely injured veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Milestones: Since inception, they have built nearly 170 homes, with another 50 currently underway.

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Thanks USA

Mission: Distributes need-based college, technical, and vocational school scholarships to the children and spouses of active duty U.S. military members.

About: Started in 2006 by sisters Kelsi and Rachel Okun.

Milestones: Since it was founded, the organization has awarded 3,500 scholarships totaling almost $10 million.

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The Soldiers Project

Mission: Provide free, confidential and unlimited mental health services to any active duty service member or veteran who has served since September 11, 2001.

About: Founded in 2004 by Dr. Judith Broder, after realizing that she needed and wanted to do more to help a new generation assimilate back from the war.

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