The Mission Continues responds to COVID-19


The global spread of COVID-19 has led to unprecedented adjustments in our lives and livelihoods. The health and safety of our program participants, staff, supporters and community partners continues to be our top priority, and we remain focused on driving impact while adjusting to the realities that COVID-19 presents. Our work is ongoing, and this page will be continually updated as we remain nimble and shift according to world events.

Current Update - April 9, 2020
With gratitude for those on the frontlines, we trust that there are better days ahead, and we commit to doing our part so that you can succeed. Here are some of the ways you can be a leader now:

  • On April 22, we’re mobilizing veterans and volunteers across the country for Earth Day and are challenging everyone to take a pledge of service to do your part to honor the planet.
  • We are continuing to connect veterans and volunteers across the country. This month alone, we’ve hosted or scheduled 37 social events to include movie nights, game nights, and book club gatherings. These events are attracting familiar faces and new veterans to our ranks, and are an innovative way to continue to grow our movement. We’re also working to prevent unnecessary social isolation and ensure that veterans are connected to the resources they need. In the last week, our platoon leadership network activated to perform over 2,000 virtual buddy checks with platoon members across the country. Get connected with veterans in your community here.
  • Participate in a virtual service project.The under-resourced communities where we work are disproportionately impacted by healthcare shortages and economic downturns. They need our help now and will need it in the future. Our Service Platoons are fostering seedlings to plant in community gardens, ensuring that all communities have access to fresh, safe and healthy food. We’re also encouraging solo treks to clean up parks, trails and communities across the county. Connect with a local platoon to learn more about how you can help.
  • Seek opportunities to support essential services. If you’re healthy and low-risk, many food banks, pantries and food distribution services, as well as blood banks are considered mission critical (and therefore exempt from stay at home orders) and in need of individuals to donate and serve as volunteers. You can also visit Points of Light to learn more about virtual volunteerism.
  • Thank a healthcare provider, a teacher, a grocery store clerk, and your local food bank. Veterans are used to being thanked for our service, but this is not our fight. Say thank you, and continue to say thank you long after this crisis has passed. Say thank you with your words, and say thank you with your actions. Keep them safe by staying home.

Program Updates

  • After carefully weighing the decision to move forward with hosting our 2020 Mass Deployment in Houston this June, we have decided to postpone Operation Bayou City Blitz until November. We are grateful to our community partners, funders and other stakeholders for their flexibility and support as we finalize a new date for this fall. We look forward to this event every year and while this was a difficult decision to make, we’re doing our best, as this situation evolves, to balance critical needs of the community, the excitement and impact this event brings, with the safety of all involved. It is certainly apparent that the need for veteran leadership will be even more important in the coming weeks and months. If you have completed an application to be considered for a spot on our crew or as an ambassador—thank you, and a member of our Applicant Experience team will be in touch with you shortly.
  • The Mission Continues’ offices across the country are closed, and our entire team is equipped and working remotely to ensure we continue to operate at a high level. Last month, almost 70 members of our socially distant team came together remotely to connect and share updates for driving our mission to empower veterans to serve in communities during this uncertain time. We have formed a cross-functional working team to assess varied on-the-ground needs and put in place action plans to best activate at the local level.
  • While we were disappointed to have to cancel the final in-person gathering of our second cohort of the Service Leadership Corps, these leaders improvised and delivered their final capstone project virtually! We hosted 12 small groups in virtual presentations this week with teams from across the country. Projects ranged from helping a regional food bank in Dallas to scale their volunteer program, to creating and implementing an awareness campaign for a green-construction training program for Atlanta’s refugee population. See a brief highlight reel here and check out the virtual presentation experiences on our YouTube page.
  • Last month, cohort of 67 women veterans of the Women Veterans Leadership Program engaged in a live virtual storytelling training to sharpen their communication skills The course introduced women veterans to the power of storytelling in society, the concept of the public narrative and how to focus their own leadership stories.
  • In keeping with CDC guidance to cancel in-person gatherings of more than 50 people, scheduled in-person service projects and social events will be postponed at least through May 15th. We will continue to evaluate the situation and our regional teams are working with local community partners to reschedule when prudent.



Mental Health Resources

Take care of you, your loved ones and each other. Stay home as much as you can. Veterans are among the most trusted groups in society—lead by example for others in your community. Practice radical self-care so that you will be sharp, focused, and healthy when you are once again called to serve on the front lines. We know that you are not alone in feeling stressed, confused and at times—even discouraged. We all know veterans can be reluctant to ask for help. Ask your network what they need, and ask for help if you need it.

We are acutely aware of the impact that social isolation can have on communities including on the veteran community. We have convened a team to explore ways to stay connected and healthy during this “new normal” of social distancing. We’ve already seen our veteran leaders self-organize to maintain opportunities to stay connected to each other. We are excited to share those examples as they arise—so please let us know if you have done virtual gatherings that have worked.

Here are some resources for self-care and looking after your own well-being during this time:

Try these options to connect with people while still practicing social distancing:

  • Video chat with your family & friends—you can use a system like Zoom or Google Hangouts, FaceTime, or Houseparty. Want ideas of what to talk about?
    • Set up a group call with your closest friends while eating dinner
    • Read a picture book to young kids in your family
    • Host a virtual trivia night like the New York Platoon did
    • Form up a book club
    • Gather for a happy hour—with or without alcohol!
    • Play a video game together
  • Ask questions / share tips in your local TMC Facebook group
  • Encourage friends & neighbors to set up a Slack or join your community on Nextdoor — or even call them!
  • Watch a movie on Netflix Party

Here are other resources that might be helpful:

SERVE YOUR COMMUNITY

One of the most important things you can do for your community at this time is to stay home—especially if you’re ill or in a high risk category, minimize in-person contact with others, and recognize that social distancing is an effective approach to containing this virus. But all that being said, there are still ways you can serve your community.

Our Platoon leaders are displaying the resilience and adaptability we’ve come to expect during challenging times. While in-person gatherings are on hold, Platoons are using this time to prepare for future service projects. We’re currently working on available and safe ways for you to activate in support of local and individual volunteer opportunities (that are mindful of social distancing), and if you are healthy and at low risk, and will update those here as they appear. If you have an idea, please share it with us! We’d love to highlight it.

Check out the Database of Localized Resources During Corona Outbreak for local mutual-aid groups near you.

There are things we can all do as individuals or in small family groups that will have an enormous impact when accomplished at scale. Look for ways to support your neighbors and your neighborhood. You can start with these ideas:

  • To support their Operation Green Thumb partner, Boise 1st platoon hosted a video-streamed project where members can learn how to plant and care for “foster” seedlings, which can later be transported to the local elementary school garden. In Washington, DC, Platoon Leader David Dubois filmed and shared a DIY video on Facebook to teach others how to grow, and when to plant, herb and vegetable seedlings at home, that can then be planted in a local community garden.
  • Build a Little Free Library
  • Build a Mobile Market Unit inspired by the ones the Orlando Platoons built for local schools
  • California Volunteers has put together a great list of how to check in with your neighbors
  • Rake leaves for a neighbor
  • Pick up groceries for someone who can’t leave the house or run errands