Volunteer or donate
Find out how to make a donation or become a volunteer at VA Pittsburgh, and learn more about how your support helps us serve Veterans.
Become a volunteer
VA Pittsburgh Health care depends on the goodwill of donors and volunteers who want to give something back to America's heroes. 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 either the University Drive or H.J. Heinz III campus.
Volunteer at our health care facility
By volunteering at a VA health care facility, you'll provide critical support to our nation's heroes.
To become a volunteer, fill out an application. Print it, sign it, and mail it to the campus where you'd like to volunteer: University Drive or H.J. Heinz III campus. A volunteer specialist will contact you to schedule an interview.
Benefits of volunteering
In addition to supporting Veterans in your area, you'll enjoy the following benefits as a VA volunteer:
- Free Canteen meals during shifts of four or more hours
- Free parking at your volunteer facility
- Educational opportunities, such as CPR training
- Annual tuberculosis test
- Free annual flu shots
- Job skills development
- Career exploration opportunities
Where we need help
Although we're excited to work with all volunteers, we're always in need of more shopping trip escorts and ambassadors (information desk volunteers).
Whatever your interests, VA has volunteer opportunities for you. Our volunteer duties fall into three categories: Recreational (focused on general support services), Clinical (focused on patient care), and Operational (focused on logistical or administrative tasks).
- Library - Assist the librarian, help patients use special visual aid equipment, deliver books to patient rooms, and stock book racks.
- Escort - Escort patients to various clinics for physical therapy or areas such as the chapel, barber shop, recreation, ceramics, and medical clinics.
- Recreation - Assist with arts and crafts projects, play bedside games, assist on field trips, show bedside movies, and help therapists with bowling, card games, popcorn parties, and other activities.
- Ceramics - Assist in clinics by pouring and cleaning molds and helping patients paint.
- Food and nutrition - Help patients with completing or selecting menus and during meals (opening containers, cutting food into bite-sized portions, feeding patients).
- Chaplain - Escort patients to the chapel for religious services.
- Day treatment and adult day care - Assist with patient escort, arts and crafts, exercise programs, and other recreational patient activities.
- Coffee program - Prepare and serve coffee and refreshments.
- Alzheimer's program - Assist with exercise and arts and crafts programs.
- Nursing - Assist the nursing staff with patient care.
- Pharmacy - Assist the pharmacist and deliver supplies to the patient care units.
- Speech and audiology - Motivate and encourage patients with their assignments.
- Radiology - Escort patients and file x-rays.
- Ambassador volunteers - Greet outpatients, guests, visitors and patients' families, answer phones and transfer calls. Ambassador volunteers are stationed at the main information desk.
- Radiation therapy - Run errands and escort patients.
- Surgical waiting room - Greet families, serve coffee, meet with medical staff, and provide information to families.
- Office assistant - Type, file, answer phones, keep records, and do data entry.
- DAV transportation - Drive patients from their homes to VA medical centers.
- Medical clinics - Visit with Veteran patients and run errands.
- Blood bank - Alphabetize 3x5 cards and help with drinks and snacks.
If you have questions about donating or volunteering, please contact the Voluntary Services program coordinator.
Voluntary Services Program Coordinator
University Drive Campus
Volunteer as a driver
Many sick and disabled Veterans lack transportation to and from VA medical facilities, and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) operates a nationwide transportation network to meet this need. DAV and auxiliary volunteers drive Veterans to and from VA hospitals and clinics, helping people get the care they deserve.
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the DAV work with county Veterans Affairs directors to provide transportation for Veterans to and from VAPHS for scheduled medical appointments.
Currently, the DAV has approximately 20 vans (serving 18 counties) that transport Veterans to and from VA Pittsburgh. Each month, between 1,500 and 1,700 Veterans receive DAV transportation.
Become a volunteer driver
To learn more about becoming a DAV driver, contact Pittsburgh Voluntary Services.
Volunteer opportunities for youth
The Spirit of Summer Youth Volunteer Experience invites students ages 14 to 18 to explore volunteer opportunities at VA. The program helps students learn more about VA careers, hone their job skills, meet new people, and serve our Nation's heroes. All students who complete the program earn a participation certificate.
Volunteer to make a difference
Our Nation's Veterans have given so much to preserve our freedom, and volunteering at VA is a great way to serve them with gratitude and thanks. Volunteers in the Spirit of Summer Youth Volunteer Experience help in the following ways:
- Serving coffee
- Directing patients within VA facilities
- Helping in clinics
- Supporting recreation programs
In addition, they meet fantastic people, learn new skills, and have fun!
Program participants will have access to these perks:
- Summer Youth Certificate for 80 hours (or more) of service
- Complimentary VA Pittsburgh Summer Youth Volunteer polo shirt
- Daily lunch for four or more hours of service
- Free parking
- Invitation to participate in special programs throughout the summer
The Spirit of Summer Youth Volunteer Experience offers the following benefits:
- Supports the VA Pittsburgh mission of providing excellent care and service
- Helps students adopt a service attitude
- Reminds students of the contributions of our Servicemen and women
- Allows students to learn more about various health care occupations
- Creates an investment in the future of our Nation
- Teaches communication and job-related skills
Learn more about the Youth Volunteer program
If you're a student who's interested in participating in the Youth Volunteer program (or if you know students who might be interested), contact David Difuccia, the Voluntary Services Program Leader.
Volunteer for medical research studies
Make a donation
Generous donations from people like you help helps us provide enhanced services to Veterans receiving care. You can make a monetary donation by mail, or drop off a donation of materials to one of our main campuses.
Donate by mail
If you'd like to make a donation to VAPHS, please send a check (payable to "VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System") to the following address:
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Voluntary Service (118V-A)
1010 Delafield Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
How to make a material donation in person
Some donors prefer to make monetary contributions to VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, and other prefer to donate goods needed by Veterans. We accept donations at our two main campuses, which each have different needs (see below).
Your material donations are used to support specialty programs at each campus:
At the H.J. Heinz III campus: the Community Living Center, Veterans Recovery Center (including a homeless domiciliary), psychosocial residential rehabilitation (including a food and nutrition program), the Department of Housing and Urban Development and VA Supportive Housing Program (including voucher rental assistance), and more.
- At the University Drive campus: acute care and inpatient behavioral health, as well as outpatient services including oncology, hospice and palliative care, women's health, and a coffee program.
For more information on donating materials, or to schedule a time to drop off your donation, please contact David Difuccia.
University Drive campus: needed materials
The following materials are needed at the University Drive campus:
- Roll-on deodorant (travel size)
- Dental supplies: toothbrushes, toothpaste, toothbrush holders, non-alcoholic mouthwash (small size), and denture adhesive
- Shaving cream or gel (travel size)
- Reading glasses
- Body-care products: body splash, lotion, and body wash
- 3 and 1 body wash
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Disinfectant wipes
- Hand sanitizers
- Chips, pretzels, snack crackers, and granola bars (single serving sizes)
- Sugar in a can
- Soda (two-liter bottles of regular and diet soda; caffeine free is preferred)
- Pudding cups
- Slim Jims
- Soup cups
- Coffee (regular or decaf) and coffee creamers
- Grocery gift cards
- Disposable cups, napkins, plates, forks, and spoons
- Gift cards for outpatient programs
- Markers for art projects
- Chess and checkers sets
- Books (for the Canteen)
- Puzzle books
- Large, flat-screen TV (for Wii bowling)
- Karaoke machine
- Headsets for dialysis patients
H.J. Heinz III campus: needed materials
The following materials are needed at the H.J. Heinz III campus:
- Battery-operated toothbrushes
- Alcohol-free mouthwash
- Hairbrushes and combs
- Denture cream
- Shaving cream
- 3 and 1 body wash
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Disinfectant wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Reading glasses (1.25 and higher)
- Wheelchair cup holders
- Gift cards