This week, as we celebrate National Volunteer Appreciation Week, our Voluntary Service team took a different approach to recognizing more than 500 Volunteers who give their time and talents to support our Veteran patients and programming.
Instead of traditional Volunteer Appreciation Banquets (which we hope to hold in August), we asked Volunteers to submit their favorite photos taken during their COVID-19 Stay-At-Home-And-Stay-Safe experiences. We were overjoyed to receive photos that depicted an overall sense of well-being and self-care that showed gardens being planted, fish being caught, naps being taken, books being read, connections being made, and even an engagement! So, while we can’t be with our Volunteers in person this week, we can all certainly be together in spirit and connect through this video that celebrates them.
We miss our Volunteers more than we could express through a video, phone call or email. But we know that our Volunteer Family is resilient, creative and remarkable. In fact, as the world has been turned upside down, our Volunteers and Voluntary Service team members found a way to right the ship and create a new normal. Over the past several weeks, we all dug a little deeper to find creative solutions to meet mission goals and ensure Veterans and staff were taken care of. With the help of our Volunteers, and the creativity of our Voluntary Service team, we instituted a COVID-19 Curbside Delivery Program for vulnerable Veterans who cannot leave their homes to get groceries – and our amazing Volunteers stepped up to drive the weekly routes and deliver the shelf-stable food. We’ve also created innovative ways to reintegrate our Volunteer Family, asking them to conduct virtual inpatient visits and lead virtual programming to ensure homebound Veterans don’t feel isolated and alone.
We honor our Volunteers; we honor our community partners; and we honor our Voluntary Service team as they serve our Veterans through their time, talents and treasure. Happy National Volunteer Appreciation Week!