The second annual 100 Miles for Hope creates opportunities for American Legion departments, districts, posts and members to engage their communities.
By involving other service organizations, youth sports teams, churches and community members, the interaction will not only promote wellness but drive more resources to the campaign’s beneficiary, The American Legion Veterans & Children Foundation (V&CF).
This year the registration fee has been cut to $20. Every participant will receive a medal, which will arrive this summer. For details about the two options to register and 100 Miles gear available for purchase at Emblem Sales, please visit www.legion.org/100miles.
All proceeds from registrations, merchandise sales and fundraising go directly to the foundation that funds the work of accredited American Legion service officers and provides much-needed financial grants to military families with young children.
“The first 100 Miles for Hope exceeded expectations in every way, getting American Legion Family members active amid the pandemic while raising funds and awareness for the foundation,” American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford said. “We raised about $150,000 last year for the foundation and our goal for this year’s campaign is to double that.”
Oxford suggested posts involve members in their community while following local social-distancing rules. For example, posts could connect with Boy Scout troops, other civic organizations, churches, high school cross-country teams or veterans service organizations such as Team Red, White & Blue and Student Veterans of America.
To facilitate such interactions, new resources include:P
- Press releases that districts and posts can use. One is to promote a specific 100 miles event in their community, and the other is to reach out to other community groups and invite them to participate.
- A poster that can be displayed at the post or distributed as a PDF.
- Videos to share on a website, newsletter or social media.
To access these resources and more, please visit www.legion.org/100miles/community.
In 2020, the Black Hills Chapter of American Legion Post 164 in Spearfish, S.D., was among those that involved their community. The highlight was a 100-mile American Legion Riders journey on Patriots Day from Spearfish to the Black Hills National Cemetery.
After they reached the national cemetery, the Riders paused to remember the fallen. “We honored one of the Riders who is buried there,” said Micheline Nelson, a member of the post’s Riders chapter and the Auxiliary unit. “And we also laid roses and erected the flags at the gravesites of friends and family.”
Post 164 held another event for the 100 Miles campaign in October. Micheline says they invited church groups and other community members to participate in an hour-long walk in a park. “We recorded the miles and as a group, we were able to accomplish the 100 miles, with a cumulative 380 miles.”
Not only that, the event raised about $750 for the foundation.
Supporting the V&CF is important to Fred Nelson, the department commander for South Dakota. “That’s our mission — veterans and children,” says Fred, a member of Post 164 who is also a member of the Legion Riders and Sons of The American Legion. “We’re looking to help.”
The Nelsons say the post will be active once again and is planning on involving Riders chapters and the community for a wreath-laying event.
Micheline is working on a new idea to involve the community that ties in to the activity goal in this year’s challenge. Instead of miles, those who register on the app will be able to track and get credit for dozens of activities — from walking to cycling to doing yoga to volunteering and more.
“I am thinking of something completely out of the box — 100 Miles of Thread,” she says. “That would be quilters, knitters and others who would record the time they spend creating items for the VA and homeless veterans. It would involve Auxiliary members and others who may not be able to get out of their homes but can help veterans who are in VA hospitals or homebound.”