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Volunteer or donate

You can make a difference when you volunteer at or donate to the VA Altoona Healthcare System.

Become a volunteer

Join our volunteer team and experience the rewards of helping our nation’s heroes. More than 300 people volunteered about 40,000 hours in 2018, making our patients’ experience at Altoona health care more enjoyable. You can, too. We’ll match your talents with one of our many fulfilling volunteer opportunities. 

To become a volunteer, call or visit us at the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center’s Volunteer Program Office on the second floor of our main building.

Volunteer benefits

In addition to supporting Veterans in your area, you'll enjoy the following benefits as a VA volunteer: 

  • Free Canteen meals during shifts of 4 or more hours
  • Free parking at your volunteer facility 
  • Education opportunities, such as CPR training
  • Free annual tuberculosis test
  • Free annual flu shot
  • Job skills development
  • Job search opportunities

Volunteer opportunities

Whatever your interests, Altoona health care has volunteer opportunities for you. 

Below are some ways you can help. Other assignments not listed here might be available as well. If you’re interested in volunteering or have special skills to offer, please contact us so we can discuss how you can best help our patients. We also have special short-term projects from time to time. All volunteers must complete a background check.

Volunteer assignments are usually 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Patient care 

  • Adult day care: Help with patient escort, arts and crafts, exercise programs, and other recreational patient activities.
  • Coffee program: Prepare and serve refreshments.
  • Escort: Escort patients to medical clinics, chapel, barbershop, recreation, and programs.
  • Food and nutrition: Help patients complete or select menus. Open containers, cut food into bite-size portions, and feed patients during meal times.
  • Front desk: Greet outpatients, guests, visitors, and patients' families, answer phones, and transfer calls at the information desk.
  • Library: Help the librarian, help patients use visual aid equipment, deliver books to patient rooms, and stock book racks.
  • Medical clinics: Visit with patients and run errands.
  • Nursing: Help the nursing staff with patient care.
  • Recreation: Help with arts and crafts projects, play bedside games, help on field trips, show bedside movies, and help therapists with activities.
  • Speech and audiology (hearing): Motivate and encourage patients with their assignments.
  • Surgical waiting room: Greet families, serve coffee, meet with medical staff, and provide information to families.


  • VA Point of Service kiosk: Pre-register and check Veterans in for their appointments. We need about 15 volunteers each day, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Minimum of 3- to 4-hour shifts at the main hospital in Altoona, as well as the Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Dubois, Johnstown, and State College.
  • Blood bank: Alphabetize paperwork and help with snacks.
  • DAV transportation: Drive patients from their homes to VA medical centers.
  • Office assistance: Type, file, answer phones, keep records, enter data, and call patients to remind them about appointments.
  • Pharmacy: Help the pharmacist and deliver supplies to the patient care units.
  • Radiation therapy: Run errands and escort patients.
  • Radiology: Escort patients and file X-rays.

Where we need extra help 

We always need more people to drive patients to their appointments at our medical center or one of our CBOCs. To fill this important role, you must have a current driver’s license and car insurance, receive mandatory training, and pass a physical exam. 

Volunteer times, which can vary, are usually 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We especially need drivers for Blair, Bedford, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Indiana, Mifflin, and Somerset counties.

Contact us

If you have questions about donating or volunteering, please contact the Voluntary Services program coordinator.

Phone:  814-943-8164, ext. 17141 

In person:

James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center
Voluntary Service Office
2907 Pleasant Valley Boulevard
Second floor
Altoona, PA 16602

Volunteer opportunities for youth

If you’re a student who’s 14 to 18 years old, volunteer for us this summer. You can learn more about health careers, sharpen your job skills, meet fantastic people—and have fun.

Volunteer to make a difference

As a youth volunteer, you’ll help in many ways:

  • Serve coffee
  • Direct and escort patients within VA facilities 
  • Help in clinics
  • Help with recreation programs


You’ll qualify for these great benefits:

  • Summer youth certificate for 80 hours (or more) of service
  • Free VA summer youth volunteer polo shirt
  • Free lunch for 4 or more hours of service
  • Free parking
  • Invitation to join in special programs throughout the summer

How to join us 

If you're a student who wants to participate in our summer youth program, or you know students who might be interested, contact the Voluntary Service Office. 

Phone: 814-943-8164, ext. 17141

Make a donation

Generous donations from people like you help us provide enhanced services to our patients. You can donate online, by mail, or in person.

Donation suggestions

Some people prefer to give money, while others prefer to donate items needed by our Veterans. We appreciate all forms of generosity.

We accept the following items:

Personal care

  • Body-care products: lotion, soap, deodorant, and shaving cream or gel
  • Dental supplies: toothbrushes, toothpaste, toothbrush holders, non-alcoholic mouthwash, and denture adhesive
  • Hairbrushes and combs
  • Reading glasses
  • Thermometers
  • Tissues
  • Disposable brand-name twin razors
  • Earplugs


  • Gloves (sizes L and XL)
  • Hats (winter hats and baseball caps)
  • Hooded sweatshirts (sizes L, XL, and XXL)
  • Jeans and pants (waist size 32 and larger)
  • Long-sleeve shirts (men's sizes L to 5XL)
  • Shower shoes
  • Sneakers and shoes (men's size 7 1/2 and larger; Velcro or slip-on)
  • Socks
  • Sweatpants (with elastic waistbands)
  • Sweatshirts
  • T-shirts (men's sizes L to 5XL) 
  • Underwear (sizes L, XL, and XXL)
  • Winter coats (sizes L, XL, and XXL)

Assorted items

  • Books
  • Chess and checkers sets
  • Disposable cups, napkins, plates, forks, and spoons
  • Fleece blankets (twin size)
  • Gift cards for gas and groceries
  • Magazines, 6 months or newer
  • Markers for art projects
  • Puzzle books, unused
  • Reading glasses (1.25 and higher)
  • Wheelchair cup holders

Contact us

For more information on donating items or to schedule a time to drop off your donation, please contact our Voluntary Service Office:

James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center
Voluntary Service Program
2907 Pleasant Valley Boulevard
Second floor
Altoona, PA 16602

Phone: 814-943-8164, ext. 17141