50 days to make a difference

50 days to make a difference

July 18 marks 50 days remaining in the third annual American Legion 100 Miles for Hope. That’s plenty of time to make a splash (don’t worry: you don’t have to swim the 100 miles) and improve the lives of our disabled veteran brothers and sisters.

In the spring, American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard kicked off the challenge.

While you are improving your physical fitness and mental well-being, you are also helping support The American Legion Veterans & Children Foundation, which provides financial grants to struggling military families and funds services for disabled veterans,” he wrote.

In the next 50 days, your participation can have a positive impact on:

Your fitness: You can register here and start walking, cycling, kayaking, rucking, running or doing some other form of fitness. (Yes, swimming counts, too.) You would need to average just two miles a day walking to cover 100 miles by Sept. 5 when the challenge concludes. For the average person, that’s 40 minutes of walking per day — well within what health experts recommend for daily exercise.

Your wellbeing: A commitment to a regular fitness routine has a side effect of improving one’s mental state, too, fitness columnist and American Legion member Jennifer Campbell wrote earlier this year. She suggested walking outdoors to get a boost. “The stimulation caused by the activity and nature produce endorphins that regulate your mood.”

The lives of disabled veterans: Your registration fee and donations go directly toward supporting the American Legion Veterans & Children Foundation (V&CF). The foundation helps fund, educate and provide resources for 3,000 accredited American Legion service officers. In turn, these service officers provide free, life-changing guidance to any veteran who is need of assistance with their VA benefits claims.

The lives of military families: The V&CF also provides grants via Temporary Financial Assistance to military families facing financial hardships through no fault of their own. The grants help families cover basic costs for rent, utilities and other basic living expenses when in dire straits.

The SAL fundraising goal: If you are a member or supporter of Sons of The American Legion, you can help them achieve Commander Mike Fox’s goal of raising $10,000 for the V&CF via 100 Miles for Hope.

• Your department: The Department Challenge is well under way and being hotly contested. All American Legion departments are grouped into similar-sized departments in a contest to see which ones can raise the most funds. The winning department in each of six categories will receive a plaque from the national commander. Here’s how you can help your department win.