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Volunteer or donate

Find out how to make a donation or become a volunteer at VA Houston, and learn more about how your support helps us serve Veterans.

VA Houston Health care depends on the goodwill of donors and volunteers who want to give something back to America's heroes.  The Center for Development & Civic Engagement (also known as Voluntary Service) coordinates volunteers and donors for VA Houston and our Community Based Outpatient Clinics. 

Become a volunteer

Volunteering is a great opportunity to “serve those who have served.” Volunteers provide much-needed help throughout the health care system and make patients' experiences more enjoyable. Many different volunteer opportunities are available, and each volunteer's talents are closely matched with one of our assignments. Volunteers can choose to serve at the Houston VA or one of our community based outpatient clinics.

Summer Teen Volunteer Program

Applications are now closed for 2024 Summer Teen Volunteer Program. Please check back next winter for information about the 2025 Summer Teen Volunteer Program.

 High school students, under the age of 18, are eligible to apply for our Summer Teen Volunteer Program. Each year, new and returning students must apply for the program to be considered for the current year summer program.

Our youth volunteers learn about the mission of the MEDVAMC and the importance of our I CARE core values. The students represent the VA Center for Development & Civic Engagement department by improving how Veterans and their families experience care. 

Program requirements:

  • Age: Must be 14 years of age.
  • Time and Hours: Completion of a minimum of 100 hours over 4 to 6 weeks
  • Uniform: Required khaki slacks and navy color CDCE logo shirt (slacks provided by student and shirt provided by CDCE) and ID badge
  • Questionnaires: Incomplete questionnaires will not be considered; this includes lack of parent/guardian signatures. Questionnaires will only be accepted by email.
  • Relatives: You cannot volunteer in the same area as your parent or relative. Only CDCE has the authority to assign teens to specific areas.
  • Conduct: We expect each student to act in a professional manner. Student volunteers represent the VA and the Center for Development & Civic Engagement department. Poor conduct will be handled on an individual basis.

If you have any questions, please contact us at or

Volunteer benefits

As a VA volunteer, you’ll support Veterans in your area, meet interesting people, and gain valuable experience in a health care setting. You’ll also enjoy benefits like: Contribute to Veteran community

  • Free Canteen meals during shifts of 4 or more hours
    • Free parking at your volunteer facility 
    • Annual Volunteer Recognition Awards Program
  • Free annual flu shot
  • Job skills development
  • Job search opportunities

Volunteer opportunities

Whatever your interests, we have volunteer opportunities that are right for you. In order for us to help provide you with the best volunteer experience, Voluntary Service will coordinate placement in an area that is compatible for you from the volunteer opportunity list. Please be aware that all areas do not accept volunteers. Some of our volunteer opportunities may include:

Patient care 

  • Escort - Bring patients to medical clinics, chapel, recreation, and programs.
  • Food and nutrition - Help patients select menu items, open containers, cut food into bite-size portions, and eat during mealtimes.
  • Front desk - Greet outpatients, guests, visitors, and patients' families, answer phones, and transfer calls at the information desk.
  • Medical clinics - Visit with patients and run errands.
  • Hospice – Provide comfort and companionship to Veterans in the final days and hours of their lives.
  • Recreation - Help with activities like arts and crafts projects, bedside games, field trips, and bedside movies.


  • Blood bank – Alphabetize paperwork and help with snacks.
  • Book Cart– Deliver or help Veterans select books and magazines.
  • Healing Garden – Trim landscape, and weed and water garden.
  • Office assistance - Type, file, answer phones, keep records, enter data, and call patients to remind them about appointments.
  • Transportation - Drive patients from their homes to VA medical centers. Must have current driver’s license, auto insurance, and physical exam.

Other assignments not listed here may also be available. If you’re interested in volunteering, or if you have special skills to offer, please contact us so we can discuss how you can best help our Veterans. 

While some volunteer assignments must be performed at specific times, most are flexible and can fit your schedule. We also have special short-term projects.

Volunteer as a driver

Help pick-up outpatients receiving treatments or therapy and other outpatient appointments. To fill this role, you must have a current, valid Texas driver’s license and automobile insurance and pass a physical exam. Hours vary.

We are looking for volunteer drivers for: Beaumont, Woodville, Conroe, Lake Jackson, Texas City, Galveston, Bay City, Brazoria County, and Waller County. 

How to apply

To apply to volunteer, visit our Application Portal and choose “Volunteer at a Facility” from the “Volunteer or Donate” option in the top menu. Choose “Houston Michael E. DeBakey VAMC (580)" in the facility field. Once you have submitted your application, a member of our team will contact you. Please note that our process time for potential volunteers can take up to 4 weeks.

Volunteer Requirements

  • Minimum 100 hours over 6 months
  • Complete Voluntary Service interview
  • Must provide Voluntary Service with a current copy of tuberculosis test
  • Must provide 2 forms of state approved ID (TDL, SSC, Passport, Military ID card, etc.)
  • Background check (provided by MEDVAMC) and VA volunteer ID badge
  • VA volunteer badge is required to volunteer
  • Volunteer vest 

Once Selected and Approved

  • Attend a virtual group orientation and training
  • Complete fingerprinting and photo for ID badge
  • Complete all required training documents
  • Interview with area supervisor
  • Start date will be determined by Program Manager and assigned area supervisor

Volunteer for internships/externships or research studies

Make a donation

Every donation, no matter how large or small, makes a difference in the lives of our Veterans. We could not provide many of the services for our Veterans if it were not for the generosity of people in the community, the Veteran's service organizations, fraternal organizations, and businesses. We appreciate all forms of generosity.

You can donate online, by mail, or in person.

In-kind donation needs

We ask that all donated items are new and not preowned or used, for the protection of our patients. 

Current inpatient needs include:

  • Throw blankets
  • Back scratchers
  • Wall calendars
  • Crossword puzzle books, word search, Sudoku
  • Card games (Uno, etc.)
  • Adult coloring books & coloring pencils
  • New paperback books & magazines
  • Prepackaged commercial/grocery store snacks; prepackaged holiday candy (regular and sugar free)
  • Inspirational books, Readers Digest
  • Blankets, hats, t-shirts and other items that have a Branch of Service logo or name (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard)
  • Reusable water bottles

Current outpatient needs include:

  • Metro bus passes and gas gift cards to assist Veterans with transportation to VA appointments 
  • HEB, Kroger, Walmart gift cards ($25.00) for Veterans with food insecurity 

Contact us

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

Location: Second floor, Room 2A-104
Mailing Address:
     Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
     Attention: Center for Development & Civic Engagement (135)
     2002 Holcombe Blvd., Room 2A-104
     Houston, TX 77030

VA accepting officials may decide to reject offers of gifts or donations of items for any reason including because there is no anticipated need for the items or the maintenance of the items would be out of proportion to their value. We are responsible for providing safe and clean donations. Items that do not meet these criteria will be refused.

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that under the Tax Code, donations to the Department of Veterans Affairs' General Post Fund for exclusively public purposes are deductible from federal income taxes in the manner and to the extent allowable. The announcement reflects the tax law provision which makes those donations deductible as "donations to the United States." A donation to support any of the Department's programs are deductible, whether the donor directs that the donated funds be used for a specific purpose or allows the Department to decide how the donated funds will be used.