IYB Woman Crush Wednesday | Giving Back to Homeless Vets

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In honor of Veterans Day (I’m a proud sister of one, thank you very much) I want to highlight not only a phenomenal woman, but an inspiring Army vet–who still wears the leave no comrade behind mantra on her sleeve even when it’s not a camouflaged one.

Chi-town native and 15 year army vet, Jaspen Boothe, founded Final Salute Inc., an org dedicated to providing homeless women vets with shelter, employment, business clothes, and financial literacy courses to get them back on their feet. A position Jas was forced in when she lost everything during Hurricane Katrina. Followed by a grim cancer diagnosis that was close to getting her discharged from the Army. With no home, job or health care to depend on she turned to her Hoo-rah brothers for help. Uncle Sam told her welfare was a more viable option because there were no social service programs for female vets with children.

Aha Moment!

Jas changed that in 2010–five years shy of becoming cancer free and regaining a position in the armed services–by developing a very valuable resource for her sister veterans.

Accepting an award from the American Veterans Center, Jas explained the importance of her organization.

According to the org’s site, Final Salute has assisted over 900 women and children across the country. Generous donations of $25 or more provide food and clothes to female vets in need (hint hint). For those wiling to help click here.

I took an oath to never leave a fallen comrade behind. Final Salute is my commitment to that oath.

Mission Accomplished!

Happy Turkey Drive!! RHOA Kandi Burruss, Ludacris and Mike Epps’ Thanksgiving Giveaways

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Needy families from Atlanta and Detroit have RHOA Kandi Burruss, rapper Ludacris and funnyman Mike Epps to thank for doling out turkeys through their respected charities.

Kandi partnered with Walmart–as well as requested turkey donations from the community–to collect the turkeys and trimmings she used to offer select single-parent homes in ATL, through her Kandi Cares charity. The housewife chanteuse distributed the thanksgiving goodies yesterday alongside daughter Riley.

Not far away, rapper Ludacris kicked off his annual holiday food basket giveaway to 250 families through his Ludacris Foundation.The rapper/actor not only distributed butterballs to the ATL, but also set up a coat and toy driver. Luda set up a one stop shop of generosity to needy Atlantans at the Utopia Academy for the Arts.

eppsieturkeydriveNot to be outdone comedian Mike Epps joined Big Sean in Detroit to take part in the All Star Give back turkey drive held at River Rouge Schools. The giveaway aimed to feed over 1,000 families in the motor city.

Finally, to round out the various acts of kindness that kick off the holiday season, FLOTUS Michelle Obama and “Extra’s” Mario Lopez plan a Thanksgiving surprise to a worthy veteran. The California native army sergeant fell on hard times after his tour of duty finished; became unemployed and lost his Vietnam veteran grandfather to cancer. “Extra” and FLOTUS stepped in to get him back on his feet. Watch “Extra” to see how the surprise plays out.

Kudos to these celebs and everyone for serving up blessings to needy families. Let’s pass that love and generosity around more.

Five Ways to Give Thanks to Veterans this Memorial Weekend

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This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. Woo hoo!! Everyone break out the freshly bought bikinis and head to the nearest sunny spot on the beach, except for NorthEasterners’¬†who are grabbing sweatshirts and scarfs instead of shorts because it’s fur-reezing in New York. (Thanks, Mr. G). But we don’t need a BBQ grill or a killer one piece swimsuit to acknowledge what this holiday is really about: honoring veterans that gave their lives to protect us. To make it possible for us to bathe in the sun and cook on an open grill. If that doesn’t deserve a big, fat thank you, I don’t know what does. So, here are five ways you can honor fallen veterans this Memorial Weekend:

1. Visit a national cemetery in your area. Plant a flag or drape one over fallen servicemen’s tombstones to acknowledge their sacrifice for our democracy.

2. Attend a Memorial Day Parade. You have the opportunity to give thanks to veterans in person for their service to the country.

3. Volunteer at a Veteran’s Hospital. You can donate time and gratitude to the servicemen who are ill. Showing them you haven’t forgotten what they sacrificed will surely cheer them up.

4. Send a Care Package to a Active Serviceman. Show your appreciation to servicemen currently in the fight by sending tokens of thanks.

5. Send a message of thanks to military families. http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces/message