VA Voluntary Service (VAVS) estimates there have been more than $25 million in gifts and donations to VA designated for COVID-19 support alone.
Communities and organizations nationwide have mobilized to support Veteran patients, their families, caregivers and staff. Our traditional VA partners have maintained their strong presence throughout this effort.
Many new groups have come aboard providing support in a number of ways. Those groups have donated non-perishable items to replenish food pantries. They’ve also donated cell phones for homeless Veterans, allowing them to maintain contact with providers during times of limited access to facilities.
They have provided Facebook portals to Community Living Centers facilitating seamless communication between Veteran residents and their families.
Innovative programs have also been implemented thanks to VA partners. Those programs have afforded the opportunity to continue execution of specially planned activities by VAVS for Veterans.
Most notable are the Baby Showers for female Veterans.
So, how do you hold a party for 30-50 people and still be physically distant? VAVS had a couple of ideas. They included Zoom parties, complete with education, music, games, and gifts delivered right to the homes of Veterans.
Drive-by supplies for pregnant and new moms
We held drive-thru events where pregnant Veteran moms or those who had recently delivered drove right up to the front doors of VA. There, they were greeted by enthusiastic volunteers. The volunteers loaded the back seats and trunks of their vehicles with donated gifts.
The giving didn’t stop with our Veteran patients. Organizations and foundations came forward to eagerly support the hard work and dedication of VA staff. Thousands of pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were donated from groups around the world.
Additionally, meals and snacks were provided round-the-clock for employees at facilities across the country. It was a constant reminder to our teams that our communities honored their commitment to caring for America’s Veterans.
Short video says thank you
This short video doesn’t begin to capture the many gifts and donations received during this time, nor all of the organizations and individuals who gave. We wanted to find a way everyone could share in a heartfelt thanks for their contributions – large and small.
It is a distinct honor and privilege to recognize them for their role in helping VA to carry out its mission to provide high quality care and services to more than 9 million Veterans. It is the tireless effort of volunteers and community partners that has powered us though this global pandemic.
On behalf of the leadership, staff and Veteran patients, this “Thank You” is for all who have stood alongside VA during this challenging time.
Sabrina C. Clark is director of VA Voluntary Service.