Volunteering made easy at VA

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 11, 2018 - 12:31 pm



Volunteering, while a wonderful thing to do, can be difficult. 90 percent of American’s say they’d like to do it, but only one out of four end up giving their time to help others. 

Studies show that people who volunteer have better moods and are less depressed. 90 percent of American’s say they want to volunteer, but only a quarter actually get out and give of their time. The main reason for this, people think,  they don’t have time and volunteering schedules are too inflexible.

The VA has fixed this problem and has come up with a couple ways for volunteers to not just pick where they’ll help out but what they’ll do when they get there. Ssince April is National Volunteer Month, it comes at a perfect time too!

VA’s Voluntary Service webpage is set up so you can surf VA needs, both voluntary and financial, from the comfort of your home. By using the Volunteer or Donate form, you first pick the state where you’d like to volunteer and then the VA facility. Just type in your contact information and hit submit. Your information is then sent to the Chief of Voluntary Service at the medical center. And because your time if valuable, VA has a page that shows you exactly how much your time is worth. 

If you have plenty of time to give, you can find the specific needs for each medical center by using this web tool. You select your state, then the facility. Many VA medical facilities have a “needs list” posted so you can see what they need before you send in your contact information. 

For example, Birmingham’s VA medical center needs volunteers for the information desk and for customer service. The Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Hot Springs Arkansas needs bodies to help out with their computer lab and pet therapy programs, but they also need disposable emery boards to help with veteran’s feet. How does one volunteer for that?

You can donate money instead of time. 

All donations are tax deductible and since administrative costs at the VA are already appropriated by Congress, your entire donation goes directly to support vets in the way you want. But how can you be sure of this? 

When you donate, there’s a space for you to put a fund name and an account name. These can be located on the needs lists. Looking at the needs list for the Hunter Holmes McGuire VAMC in Richmond, VA you can donate to fund #1051.  By giving money to this line item, the medical center can purchase replacement TV’s for patient rooms and pay the monthly cable bill.  Most line items have a contact name and number in case you have any questions before you give.

If you don’t mind a more general way to volunteer, VA voluntary Service has joined the United We Serve. Through this program, VA works to get more people to help specifically in the summer and with four national programs. You can get more information here on how to help out with VA’s Homeless Veterans Program, the National Cemetery Administration, the Volunteer Transportation Network and VA’s Welcome Home Celebrations.