The military provides world-class care while injured service members are in the hospital. But sometimes gaps open up between the support the military can provide, and the support the injured and their families need.

The Yellow Ribbon Fund helps bridge the gaps while they’re recovering in the Washington, DC, area at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

Even after they return to their hometowns, YRF continues to help.





The Yellow Ribbon Fund provides free
HOTEL ROOMS for visiting relatives desperate to be at the side of their injured loved ones.

We provide free
TAXI RIDES to give them some freedom and control at a time when they control very little.

As injured service members recover and become outpatients, we provide free, furnished APARTMENTS for families who otherwise would have to endure the added stress of separation or crowding into a hotel room.

When a service member is injured, a family member or close friend leaves home to come help with the recovery, often for a year or longer. YRF’s FAMILY CAREGIVER PROGRAM has pioneered support for caregivers. We’re still one of the only service organizations to offer childcare and family-oriented activities, plus stress-relieving massages and spa visits, mutually supportive dinners out, empowering horseback rides, and more — all at no charge.

Meanwhile, after a life-changing injury, our innovative MENTORING PROGRAM helps injured service members build new lives through education and career guidance, networking, and job shadowing that opens doors.

After injured veterans return home, our AMBASSADOR PROGRAM connects them with volunteers all over the country. These “ambassadors” provide one-on-one support to ensure no one falls through gaps in community safety nets. (Read the program brochure.)

And when injured service members need an advocate to stand up for them, VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR VETERANS provide pro bono legal services.

Yellow Ribbon Fund volunteers and donors make it possible for injured service members and their families to enjoy sporting and cultural events, tours, outings, and get-togethers — MORE THAN 100 ACTIVITIES every year.

These events are more than just fun — they’re an important PART OF THE HEALING PROCESS. YRF activities offer stress-reducing breaks from the grueling rigors of recovery, while reducing isolation, nurturing family relationships, and building confidence.

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Housing & Transportation:

“A father-and-son reunion”

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Support Programs:

“New PSA helps get the word out”

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Activities & Events:

“Caregivers learn how to cook up self-care”

Thanks to YRF supporters, an injured corporal and his son spent a special week together in Florida.

For the second year in a row, YRF has provided a rental car to bring an injured service member and his family together.

John, who’s still on active duty, has been undergoing a lengthy rehabilitation at the VA spinal cord unit in Tampa, Florida. Meanwhile, his mother, Debra, and his son both live in Mississippi.

Travel is difficult for John, but it’s a challenge for Debra, too — she lost her job while she helped care for John during the first 11 months after he was injured. She’s now back at work, but finances are still tight.

Time off from the hard work of rehabilitation is an important part of the recovery process.

The free rental car makes it possible for Debra to take her grandson to Florida for a precious week with his dad during his long rehabilitation. Visits like this are a crucial part of the recovery process, lifting spirits and strengthening bonds between the wounded warrior and the people who matter most. The gifts of YRF supporters are what make it possible.

YRF helps make good memories that strengthen family bonds.

The title of the new PSA reflects YRF’s reason for being: “They Served: Now They’ve Earned Our Help.”

Watch the PSA.

YRF’s very first public service announcement (PSA) will premiere soon on the Military Channel, thanks to parent company Discovery Communications. Not only will they air it for free, but with the help of Image Factory DC, they produced the 30-second PSA itself for free, too. That enables us to increase awareness while continuing to devote more than 80 cents of every dollar spent on America’s injured heroes and their families.

Many thanks to everyone who donated their time, talent, and equipment to bring our message to life!

At Discovery: Lauren DeNu, Ron Simon, and John Terp

The entire Image Factory DC team, especially: Steve Greenstein, Phil Spell, Erica Kern, and photographer Andy Hsu

Freelance voiceover talent Terry MacDonald and his wife Caroline

Catholic University of America, whose staff provided settings and “extras” for photography…

And the injured veterans and their families who are helping other injured vets and families by helping YRF:

GySgt John Hayes & Elizabeth Hayes

SFC Cedric King & Khieda King

Sgt TJ Brooks & service dog Macho

At YRF’s cooking class, busy caregivers learn how to prepare easy, healthy, delicious meals to help them stay strong.

Family caregivers are so busy taking care of their injured loved ones (and often their children as well), that meals are usually an afterthought.

“But after awhile you get sick of take-out,” says Jessica Klein, who coordinates YRF’s family caregiver program at Walter Reed in between caring for her own injured husband.

For caregivers, it’s hard to take time to eat right, and that makes it hard to stay strong. One remedy is YRF’s cooking class for caregivers.

The USO’s location at Walter Reed makes it easy for caregivers to attend.

Now held once a month in the USO building on the Walter Reed campus in Bethesda, Md., the class’s recipes always have three things in common: they’re easy, healthy, and mouth-wateringly delicious!

While caregivers are learning, they’re also connecting with each other for mutual support that continues long after the class is over.

The current teacher is Karla Brischke, a culinary school student who volunteers her knowledge and skill. She discussed “brain food” during a class that had salmon on the menu.

It’s easy to see why the classes are always filled to capacity!

“Antioxidants” were the tasty subject of the class pictured above. On that day caregivers learned to prepare watermelon gazpacho; quinoa salad with goat cheese, asparagus, and black olives; cabbage and chicken Thai salad; and cherry and apricot sorbet.

The recipes are simple, no special equipment required.

Everything can be prepared in the small, basic kitchens available to the caregivers in the dormitory-style housing where they live with their injured loved ones at Walter Reed.

After learning to prepare the food, the caregivers get to eat it!

Two additional volunteers help Chef Karla teach a dozen caregivers during each class in the USO’s kitchen. The popular cooking class is always filled to capacity. That’s because, like all YRF programs, it’s the result of YRF’s unique insight into the real needs of injured service members and their families, and our commitment to meet those needs.