By Sumaiya Malik
Photo Credit: Dr. Akif Sultan
This Veterans Day, Wishes for Veterans, a Facebook group that honors Veterans for their services to the country, offered free donuts and greeting cards to them at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic on Metropolis Drive.
“I felt the need to honor their sacrifices. They have gone through so much for the country and I want to give back to them,” Nabila Sultan, 11th grader at Westwood high school and the founder of the group, said.
Sultan started volunteering for Austin VA Outpatient Clinic, in Austin, in summer of 2018 when she entered high school in 9th grade.
The clinic offers medical treatment for ailing Veterans and also offers a summer program which allows high schoolers to volunteer twice a week for a total of eight weeks at the receptions desk in the clinic. (www.volunteer.va.gov).
“I volunteered at the VA Clinic over the summer and really enjoyed it,” Sultan said. Sultan along with two fellow students would greet incoming Veterans and work on the front desk.
They would push their wheelchairs if needed, and carry on conversations while the patients were waiting for appointments.
“People waiting for appointments would come over and talk to us,” she added.
Two years into summer volunteering, this January Sultan setup Wishes for Veterans, the Facebook group that writes cards on special occasions to the Veterans who arrive at the Veterans Clinic as well as offer baked goods as treats to appreciate their service.
Every holiday we do something special to honor their service.
When the pandemic arose I sewed masks for the staff and veterans at the clinic as they were in need of them.
To thank the hardworking staff at the clinic, I baked over 300 treats for all of their hard work during the pandemic, she said.
Since then, the group has made Valentine’s Day cards, gifted cookies, given out free masks to the veterans and on the past Veterans Day, offered free donuts at the clinic upon arrival.
“This Veteran’s Day, we donated donuts and collaborated with SAIVA [a nonprofit organization that promotes a sense of well-being for older adults through community engagement] to wish over 150 veterans,” she said.
Duncan Donuts on Parmer Lane agreed to donate the donuts when Sultan contacted the business for a donation and volunteers at SAIVA sewed masks for the Veterans.
Friends at school have helped her write the cards.
“Sometimes when I would be at school, I would bring them to school and write them during the passing period.
My friends would help me out and write the cards with me,” she said.
“During Christmas we will write Christmas cards and donate more treats,” she said.
Sultan hopes that others join her in her work to honor the Veterans.
“I feel like we need to remind people around us of all that Veterans have done for us.
They should be appreciated the year round and not one day,” she said.
Wishes for Veterans is on Facebook. Please contact them if you want to volunteer for Christmas treats.