Skip to Content
Learn what the PACT Act means for your VA benefits

Volunteer or donate

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

Become a volunteer

Join our volunteer team and experience the rewards of helping our nation’s heroes. Nearly 400 people volunteered more than 43,000 hours in 2018, making our patients’ experience at Philadelphia health care more enjoyable. You can, too. We’ll match your talents with one of our many volunteer opportunities. 

To become a volunteer, please fill out our  application (PDF). Call or visit us on the sixth floor of the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center (3900 Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia PA) at the Volunteer Services office (room A637). 

Phone: 215-823-5800, ext. 5868

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 
  • Quarterly education session
  • Free annual flu shot and tuberculosis test
  • Service pins, certificates, and awards
  • Year-round recognition events
  • Recommendation letter

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

Below are some of the 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. All volunteers complete a background check and tuberculosis test.

We ask adults to volunteer a minimum of 4 hours each week and college students 2 to 3 hours each week. If you’re short on time, consider group volunteer opportunities. 

Patient care 

  • Adult day health care: Help with patient escort, arts and crafts, exercise programs, and other recreational patient activities.
  • Coffee program: Prepare and serve refreshments.
  • Escort: Bring patients to medical clinics, chapel, 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:  Assist the librarian, help patients use special visual aid equipment, deliver books to patient rooms, and stock book racks.
  • Medical clinics: Visit with patients and run errands.
  • Musicians and guest speakers: Share your talents with our patients.
  • Nursing: Help the nursing staff with patient care.
  • One-on-one visitation: Be a compassionate companion on call with our No Veteran Dies Alone program or visit with our patients while they recover. 
  • Pet visitation: Bring your certified therapy dog to visit with Veterans.
  • 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 give information to families.

Administrative support 

  • Blood bank: Alphabetize paperwork and help with snacks.
  • 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.
  • Radiology: Run errands and file X-rays.
  • Sleep clinic: Enter data, answer phones, run errands.
  • Transportation: Drive patients from their homes to VA medical centers. Must have current driver’s license, car insurance, and physical exam.

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

Perks

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 know students who might be interested, contact our Voluntary Services office. Youth volunteers must apply by April 1 and work at least 75 hours during the summer.

Phone: 215-823-5800, ext. 5868

Make a difference in the lives of our Veterans through floor visits or sponsoring special programs on one of our floors. Here’s your chance to join in the fun, friendships, and laughter by sponsoring one of our programs.

  • Bingo: Provide volunteers to run bingo games. Please bring prizes purchased from our Canteen.
  • Catered lunch: Provide and serve a catered lunch from a local restaurant for a patient unit.
  • Community activity: Connect Veterans with the community by buying gift cards or donating admission fees to movies, musicals, bowling, and sports games.
  • Craft or hobby: Lead craft projects such as painting and woodworking. Your group will bring the supplies and lead Veterans in the project.
  • Fourth of July cookout: Help our Veterans celebrate Independence Day. Your group will provide, cook, and serve a meal.
  • Social: Provide decorations and refreshments for group social events such as birthday parties, ice cream socials, holiday celebrations, and Veterans Day activities.

Where we need extra help 

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

Contact us

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

Melissa Heinlein
Chief, Voluntary Service
vhaphivisn4voluntary@va.gov

Phone: 215-823-5800, ext. 5868

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.

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

Note: We don’t accept donations of small shawls, bar soap, VHS tapes, or medical equipment such as chair lifts, wheelchairs, beds, walkers, and bedside commodes.

We welcome the following items: 

Personal care

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

Clothing (new items only)

  • Gloves 
  • Hats (winter hats and baseball caps)
  • Hooded sweatshirts 
  • Jeans and pants 
  • Long-sleeve shirts 
  • Shower shoes, flip-flops
  • Sneakers and shoes 
  • Socks
  • Suspenders and belts
  • Sweatpants 
  • Sweatshirts
  • T-shirts 
  • Underwear (all men’s and women’s sizes) 
  • Winter coats 

Assorted items

  •  Books
  • Chess and checkers sets
  • Disposable cups, napkins, plates, forks, and spoons
  • Fleece blankets (twin size)
  • Gift cards for Wawa, Target, Kohls, Walmart, Acme, SuperFresh, or Giant
  • Magazines, 6 months or newer
  • Markers for art projects
  • Personal-size bedside fan (not floor models)
  • Puzzle books, unused
  • Reading glasses (1.25 and higher) and eyeglass repair kits
  • Wheelchair cup holders

VA supportive housing needs 

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Baking sheets
  • Bath towel sets
  • Bedbug mattress covers (queen)
  • Blankets (twin or queen)
  • Brooms with dustpans
  • Buckets
  • Clocks
  • Clock radios
  • Countertop microwaves
  • Crock-Pots
  • Dish or laundry soap
  • Dishes and silverware sets for 4 people
  • First-aid kits (small)
  • Flashlights
  • Frying pans
  • Kitchen utensil sets
  • Lysol spray
  • Mattresses
  • Measuring cups, spatulas, and mixing bowls
  • Paper towels
  • Pillows
  • Potholders
  • Pots with lids
  • Sheet sets (twin or queen)
  • Small or medium coffee makers (no Keurig)
  • Swiffer cleaning products
  • Toilet brushes
  • Toilet paper
  • Vacuum cleaners

Choose a fund below, write its name in the memo section on your check, and we’ll do the rest.

Thank you for supporting our Veterans.

  • Canteen Books 
  • Community Living Center 
  • General Purpose
  • Recreation Therapy
  • Social Work
  • Women’s Health

Contact us

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

Melissa Heinlein
Voluntary Service Chief
vhaphivisn4voluntary@va.gov
Phone: 215-823-5800, ext. 5868

In person:

Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center
3900 Woodland Avenue
Sixth floor in room A637
Philadelphia, PA 19104