There are many avenues for individuals to volunteer:
- DAV’s Transportation Program
- Veterans Administration Voluntary Services (VAVS)
- Local Veterans Assistance Programs (LVAP)
- Homeless Veterans Initiatives known as Stand Downs
- Claims assistance
There are other means of volunteering to help veterans that are as varied as the imagination.
DAV’s Transportation Program provides disabled veterans with free rides from their homes to appointments at one of our VA medical centers. All of our van drivers are volunteers, and to-date they have logged over 520,000 hours of transportation services. We are always on the lookout for new drivers who share our commitment to veterans.
Our VAVS is second only to our transportation program. On the average we have approximately 250 volunteers registered at our 5 VA medical centers in Massachusetts. Yearly they contribute 25,000 hours of service to hospitalized veterans, with a cost savings to the VA of approximately $1,000,000 in Massachusetts alone. Their duties include escorting veterans to and from their rooms for tests, feeding, reading, personal hygiene, visiting and comforting those who have no family.
Outside of the VA health care system are countless numbers of veterans who need help with a variety of tasks, like yard work, grocery shopping, cleaning and travel to a personal physician. They can receive necessary assistance from volunteers with the DAV’s LVAP program. In addition, the program gives volunteers recognition for their services both on a national and state level, and for young volunteers there is the chance for scholarships. It also teaches the youth about service to country and the value and contributions of veterans.
DAV provides claims assistance at Stand Downs, 1-to-3 day events that provide homeless veterans with services such as food, clothing, health screenings, and benefits counseling. We also work with other agencies to help veterans obtain employment, register for VA health care, and address homelessness. In some cases we provide transportation for immediate care.
At all of our VA medical centers we have Department Service Officers (DSO) who provides free claims assistance in applying for VA and State benefits. At the local level each chapter has a service officer who does the same claims assistance. For 93 years this is the backbone of DAV, helping veterans navigate through the VA’s claims processing.
Volunteers that embrace the DAV’s mission statement of “fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served” have honored millions of disabled veterans for their service. This sets the DAV apart from most service organizations.