With just over 12 weeks left in the third annual American Legion 100 Miles for Hope, the momentum is growing. And for those who have not gotten involved yet, there is still time to make a difference in the lives of disabled veterans and military families in need.
Here are 12 things to know about the challenge:
1. Just a mile or so a day: With just under 90 days left until the campaign concludes Sept. 5, there are ample opportunities to sign up (click here to register) and complete the mileage portion. For those who choose to walk their 100 miles, that’s an average of slightly more than a mile a day. And that fits in to the 30 minutes of daily activity that health experts recommend.
2. Your rewards: The physical fitness and mental health benefits of the challenge are well established. Beyond how a dedicated wellness program boosts your health, there are other rewards for participants. Knowing that your support of this program enriches the lives of disabled veterans and military families facing financial struggles is motivating for many participants. With your registration, you will also receive a 100 Miles for Hope T-shirt, link to download a finisher’s certificate and the opportunity to receive incentives for fundraising.
3. The foundation: All proceeds of the challenge go to support the Veterans & Children Foundation (V&CF). All registration fees, donations and other monies collected from the campaign go toward the V&CF. This year National Commander Paul E. Dillard set a goal of raising $450,000 for the foundation. Let’s help him achieve his goal!
4. The beneficiaries: The foundation provides critical support for disabled veterans, and military and veteran parents in unexpected financial crises. Funds raised during the campaign go directly to the V&CF. Those donations are used in two ways:
a. Providing training, education and resources to support 3,000 accredited American Legion service officers. These service officers work tirelessly to help disabled veterans navigate the complicated VA system so that they can obtain the care and benefits they’ve earned through their service. This is a free service and open to all veterans.
b. Dispatching aid to military families with minor children at home who are facing financial struggles through no fault of their own. Eligible families receive Temporary Financial Assistance grants that help cover their utility bills, rent payments, groceries and other needs.
5. Individual challenges: To encourage fundraising among participants, The American Legion has created several tier levels that offer rewards-based incentives. All of the details can be found here. But it’s also worth noting that each month, the top fundraiser will receive a special incentive and the top overall fundraiser will receive four tickets to the IndyCar race of their choice during 2023. Those details can be found here.
6. Support your department: The Department Challenge has been expanded since the second annual 100 Miles for Hope, going all the way through Labor Day. Just like last year, we are offering department vs. department challenges, divided up into categories by size. The department in each category that raises the most money will receive a plaque from the national commander. (Right now, each of the categories are close so every department needs your help!) To ensure that your fundraising gets credited to your department, be sure to join its team. Here are details about how to join or support a department or team.
7. Kickstands up: This year we have expanded the Riders Challenge for the full length of the 100 Miles for Hope main campaign, all the way through Labor Day. This gives Riders individuals and chapters more flexibility in getting their miles in and raising donations, instead of the one-month challenge during the second year of 100 Miles for Hope. American Legion Riders and chapters can also earn rewards throughout the challenge for their fundraising accomplishments. Learn more about the Riders Challenge at this link.
8. A challenge for the Sons: SAL National Commander Michael Fox issued a challenge to members of the Sons: Raise $10,000 for the campaign.
9. To protect, serve and walk: American Legion posts are working with their local law enforcement departments from at least three states to raise funds and awareness of the campaign.
10. Post to post: One of the most creative events we’ve seen is the 100-mile post-to-post relay. Mitchell Keil, commander of American Legion Post 125 in North Adams, Mass., came up with the idea to celebrate the conclusion of the challenge.
11. Milwaukee’s best: If you are going to The American Legion national convention in Milwaukee, we are working on a special 100 Miles for Hope event for you. Stay tuned for details!
12. Upon your finish: When you have completed your journey, you can download this certificate to celebrate your achievement. Then fill it out, share it on social media and contribute a story to our Legiontown page.