Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center


Volunteer or Donate

The Charleston VAMC depends on the goodwill of our benefactors and volunteers who wish to give something back to America's heroes. Many of our Veterans have come to depend on volunteers for an improved quality of life while they are patients in our facilities.


Current Volunteer Statistics 

2013 Total Volunteered Hours:


2013 Volunteer Donations:




The new E-Donate service, now available online, allows community members who wish to give back to Veterans a quick, safe way to pledge their support. Through E-Donate, donors can select from a number of accounts at the medical center they wish to donate to. The U.S. Department of veterans Affairs administrative costs are appropriated so donors can be 100 percent certain their donations will go directly to the funds and Veteran patients they select. To contribute please follow this link HERE.

Veteran Patient Advisors 

Because the decisions we make affect our Veteran patients, we highly value their input. We are seeking Veterans who regularly receive care at our VA or clinics to participate on several committees. For this assignment, please directly email Edmund.Lesinski@va.gov.


Cash donations are used for the comfort and welfare of our Veteran patients, including:

• Basic needs like food, clothing, shelter
• Transportation assistance to and from medical appointments and transportation home after hospital discharge
• Comfort items for inpatient waiting rooms, including refreshments and toys for families
• Diversional recreation activities
• Outreach events and community re-integration

Cash donations must be made in person. Check donations can be made out to Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and mailed to Attention: Voluntary Service, 109 Bee St., Charleston, SC 29401. If donation is to be used for greatest Veteran needs, note 3333 in the memo. If for any other purpose, please call us before earmarking a donation for a specific purpose.

Every VA has a similar donation program. Here are some GREAT reasons to make a monetary donation to your local VA:

• 100% of your donation must, by regulation, go to Veteran patients and their families. Not one thin dime comes out for overhead, rent, salaries or other expenses.
• Each VA has its own program so your money stays LOCAL and is spent only on Veterans served by the LOCAL VA. Our service area is coastal SC and GA from the NC border to Savannah, GA.
• The expenditure of donated funds is highly scrutinized at several levels (primarily because we purchase things like bus passes, food vouchers, gas cards, clothing and other items not normally bought at VA, so that REALLY catches the auditors’ attention.) Almost half of audited government purchase card transactions at VA are Voluntary Service purchases.
• Donations are tax deductible as donations to the federal government (consult your tax advisor.)
• We work closely with patient care staff to find out what our Veterans need that can’t be met through VA and community resources. We’re the safety net – if there are no other solutions, we make sure our Veterans get what they need. VA social workers communicate their actual Veteran client needs, so we make appropriate, useful purchases.
• We also use donated funds for other customer service oriented purchases like snacks for dialysis clinic, service recovery, aromatherapy, etc. that cannot be purchased with other VA funds due to federal regulations.

Memorial Contributions: If a check donated in someone’s memory, and you want us to notify the family, please include the family contact information with your correspondence. If an e-Donate is used to donate in someone’s memory, please email us the family contact information and your name so that when the e-Donation is processed in our system, we can tie your donation to the memorial. Email us at vhachavavs@va.gov if you have questions.

Non-cash contributions are used to make our patients' stay more enjoyable. Items which are accepted include —
• magazines and paperback books (Call first due to limited storage)
• coffee and store-bought cookies
• new undergarments
• new sweat shirts and sweat pants
• new inexpensive shoes (running or loafers)
• reading glasses
• backpacks
• bus tickets or local bus passes (CARTA, Chatham county, etc.)
• small denomination ($5-$10) grocery store, gas station, or department store gift cards for Veterans getting housed after homelessness and other “tide over” purchases
• Sorry – we cannot accept used clothing

For your convenience, please contact us prior to bringing any non-cash donation to the VA Medical Center or any of our clinics to be sure that we can accept it. When delivering a non-cash contribution, please fill out the donation form and contact the Charleston VAMC Voluntary Service at (843) 789-7230 or email vhachavavs@va.gov. VA policies (and good manners) require that we acknowledge donations within 30 days of receipt.


To volunteer, please select two or three assignments from the Volunteer Assignments list, complete the application (signature not required yet) and email it to us, or fax to (843) 789-6132, or feel free to visit the Charleston VAMC Voluntary Service Office located on the main floor of the facility. After review of your application, we will send you instructions to complete an online orientation and attend a brief interview. We conduct interviews Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you cannot complete orientation online, you can attend a new volunteer orientation in person, which are held the first Wednesday of March, June, September, and December. Most volunteer assignments require a 4 hour/week, six month minimum commitment (note that there are special provisions for students.) If cannot meet the six month commitment, or if you have special skills that might be utilized but do not see an assignment for those activities on the list, please call or email us to discuss.

Volunteer Drivers

Are you interested in becoming a Volunteer Transportation Network Driver to help our Nation's finest get to their appointments? If so, please review this health screening list, and if you qualify, apply as noted above. Prior to your orientation, you will be asked to complete this new driver checklist to bring with you to orientation. Please do not start the checklist prior to receiving confirmation of your orientation appointment.

Drivers operate vans donated by the Disabled American Veterans for this purpose, and are insured and fueled by VA – there are no expenses to the volunteer driver. Transportation is available to enable our patints to travel to and from Beaufort, SC; Loris, SC; Myrtle Beach, SC; Savannah, GA; Walterboro, SC; Summerville, SC; and Hampton County, SC to the main facility in Charleston. See a list of our current routes.

Summer Youth Program

Summertime brings many pleasures of the season, and with it comes our Youth Program. It is a privilege to share with students the services we provide Veterans and offer them with the opportunity to participate in our Summer Youth Program.

Students will experience specific daily work assignments, educational presentations and events that are meaningful and helpful to their education while exposing them to career prospects that will carry them into their adult life.

For specific information and to apply visit the 2014 Summer Youth Program page.


Veteran's Day Parade 

For more information on the Veteran's Day Parade, please visit here.



Voluntary Service Office
Main Building, 1st Floor
843-577-5011 Ext. x7230/7488

The Eagle Newsletter


Volunteer PSA video.