2020-2021 National Hospital Ambassador
Volunteerism in the Age of Covid
As we launch our respective Hospital Programs this year, we face, undoubtedly, the largest challenge in the history of this magnificent and storied VFW Auxiliary Program: How to do Hospital work when we cannot access the hospital. It’s the elephant in the room and I know we, as Auxiliary members, can handle it!
In an effort to keep veteran patients, staff and families safe, many, if not all of the facilities we are used to working with, have closed their doors to the kind of volunteerism which has become our hallmark. Yes, this is an obstacle to the kind of Program “we have always run,” BUT, it is also the greatest opportunity we’ve ever been given to “SHAKE IT UP” and see exactly what we’re made of!
Engage New Hospital Volunteers
Right now, we are able to bring in more volunteers than ever! For many, the effort that it took to become an on-site volunteer was too much for them. The thought of going to the facility was either socially daunting or physically challenging. Now, with most healthcare providers needing “off-site support,” we are able to engage people who have never been involved with the Hospital Program before by finding things for them to do right there from the comfort of their home, Post Home or other location.
To whom? Well, everyone! Burn up your phone to find out who needs what in our veteran patient(s) community, and then call up your Auxiliary members and offer them the opportunity to fill those needs right from where they are!
Who Do I Call?
- Local VA Hospital/Regional Medical Center
- Local Civilian Hospital
- Nursing Homes/Skilled Care Centers
- CBOCs (Community Based Outpatient Clinics)
- Vet Centers
- Your Members
- Other Hospital Volunteers (coordinate with your neighbors!)
Make lists and delegate tasks. Remember, the most efficient way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time! So, tackle your Hospital Program in bite-sized pieces. Now that you know what is needed in your community, and who you now have to work with (because you’ve made your calls), delegate responsibility to those who match the need. For example, if you’ve been asked for lap blankets and one of your members can sew, knit or crochet – it’s as easy as that.
“Honoring Our Mission to Serve Veterans”
Covid-19 has changed the battlefield, but the war still needs to be won! This pandemic has given us a weirdly wonderful (backhanded blessing of sorts) opportunity, to really do things differently this year. RISE UP! Our veteran patients still need us, and in all of our years as an organization, we’ve never let them down. And we’re not about to start now!