Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough joined the Compassionate Contact Corps to call Veterans during VA’s National Salute to Veteran Patients.
The Compassionate Contact Corps helps combat Veteran loneliness.
VA observes National Salute to Veteran Patients in February every year by inviting the public to participate in activities aimed at giving back to Veterans. In-person volunteer activities and events at many VA Medical Centers are limited or paused.
VA’s CCC is a virtual program that offers friendly phone visits to lonely and isolated Veterans to ensure they stay socially engaged. Veterans and VA Volunteers alike have credited the CCC with helping them get through the pandemic.
“A way to really connect.”
“It’s more than a check-in,” said Center for Development and Civic Engagement Deputy Director Prince Taylor. “It’s a way for VA volunteers to really connect with Veterans and build rapport, whether next door or across the country.” The program developed from a caregiver respite pilot that became virtual due to the pandemic. Originally at just eight sites, the virtual format has allowed it to expand to more than 50 sites and counting.
In 2021, more than 700 volunteers made more than 13,000 calls to Veterans.
Volunteers, many of whom are Veterans themselves, are trained by VA and matched with Veterans in the program. They take 15-30 minutes each week to reach out to Veterans in friendly phone conversations which help them feel less alone.
Often, both the Veterans and volunteers say their lives have been enriched by the program. Many Volunteers and VA leaders making the calls are Veterans and said reaching out to fellow Veterans helped renew their sense of passion for their work at VA.
How to join
New and existing VA volunteers can sign up by contacting your local VA Center for Development & Civic Engagement office.
To apply for VA health care, visit our website or call our toll-free hotline at 877-222-8387, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. ET.