VAVS (Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service)

In April 1946, The American Legion Family joined forces with several other veterans service organizations, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to form what is known as Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS). Today, American Legion Auxiliary volunteers serve alongside members of the community as VAVS volunteers and as volunteers through the Auxiliary’s own Service to Veterans program.

VAVS supports VA and VHA (Veterans Health Administration) strategic goals by recruiting, supporting, and retaining a knowledgeable, diverse, and engaged supplemental workforce of volunteers to assist management in the delivery of VA healthcare by improving access to care, assisting with long-term care, improving patient satisfaction and much more. The Auxiliary is not the only group that provides VAVS volunteers, but we do have representatives who serve on the VA’s National Advisory Committee. Learn more about VAVS

Patient Wish List

GENERAL PURPOSE/ PATIENT NEEDS (Fund #4401) This fund supports a broad range of ongoing patient programs and projects, including ongoing patient general patient programs and projects, including general patient needs and comfort items.

ANCHORAGE VET CENTER (Fund #4402) This fund supports the needs of patients receiving care at the Anchorage Vet Center.

FAIRBANKS VET CENTER (Fund #4403) This fund supports the needs of patients receiving care at the Fairbanks Vet Center.

WASILLA VET CENTER (Fund #4404) This fund supports the needs of patients receiving care at the Wasilla Vet Center.

KENAI VET CENTER (Fund #4406) This fund supports the needs of patients receiving care at the Kenai Vet Center.

SOCIAL WORK SERVICES-EMERGENT NEEDS (Fund #4407) Funds are used for emergency needs of patients, including items for indigent patients, which greatly assists in improving the quality of their lives. Emergency lodging, clothing, toiletries, and transportation to VA services may be authorized when other resources are not available.

DOMICILIARY VETERANS (Fund #4410) This fund benefits Veteran patients receiving care at the VA Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs at the Alaska VA Healthcare System. Funds from this account are used in the following ways:

  • Personal comfort items needed by Veterans under VA care or treatment which includes new clothing (socks, underwear, pants, shirts, footwear, coats, gloves, hats, etc.); blankets, quilts, sleeping bags; pre-paid cell phones; or personal care items to facilitate and assist with meeting a Veteran’s basic immediate needs.
  • Household goods, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, apartment start-up kits, small household appliances, and cookware needed by Veterans under VA care or treatment, (for example with their start-up needs when transitioning into permanent housing).

WOMEN VETERANS (Fund #4413) Donations in this fund are used to financially support the needs and activities of the Women Veterans Program. Examples of women Veteran activities include: Spring Health and Wellness Fair as well as the Women Veteran Recognition Ceremony each Fall. Other Women Veteran Program activities include health education and wellness initiatives.

VA SPECIAL REHABILITATION EVENTS (Fund #4417) Donations from this fund are used to financially support the travel expenses for Veteran patients attending VA-sponsored rehabilitation events such as the National Veteran Golden Age Games as well as National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Colorado.

WHEELCHAIR GAMES (Fund #4418) Donations from this fund are used to financially support the travel expenses for Veteran patients attending the National Veterans Wheelchair Games VA-sponsored rehabilitation event.

VA VOLUNTARY SERVICE COMMITTEE (Fund #4420) Funds may be used by the Alaska VAVS Advisory Committee to further the business of the committee. Funds may be used in support of VAVS recognition/awards, VAVS youth recognition, and annual VAVS National Advisory Committee meetings.

OEF/OIF WELCOME HOME (Fund #4421) Funds may be used to provide services and address needs of returning Veterans and their families [e.g., Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)]. Funds may also be used to support annual Welcome Home Veteran Appreciation celebrations.

PATIENT COMFORT ITEMS (Fund #4424) The following items are always needed for patients who do not have the necessary comfort items for hospitalization: shaving cream, denture cleaner, plastic disposable razors (no generic brand at least twin blades), combs, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and hand sanitizing lotions. It is always extra special when groups make a project out of this and provide us with the ready-to-go kits. We suggest you use the trial size (personal size) items. Each kit could be a large zip-lock plastic bag or similar plastic bag. The kits may also contain items such as pens, emery boards, shower caps, powder, etc. if you wish. Our current inpatients are in need of baby wipes, hand sanitizers, brand name Kleenex, brand name razors, sketch pads, large-print word search books, and relaxation music CDs. No cologne, mouth wash, aerosols, or VHS tapes “ please!!

FAIRBANKS TAXI VOUCHERS (Fund #4426) Donations from this fund are used to provide Veteran patients who do not have transportation resources with taxi vouchers for travel to their medical appointments with the VA in Fairbanks.

HOMELESS VETERANS (Fund #4428) This fund benefits our homeless Veteran patients participating in Alaska VA Healthcare System for Homeless Veteran (HCHV) programs. Donations from this fund assist participants with rental deposits and utility bills for Veterans under VA care of treatment. Funds must be disbursed directly to the vendor of the utility or landlord for the specific purpose identified. The fund is not to be utilized for any other debts such as rental payments, credit card bills, car loans, or personal loans.

COFFEE FUND (Fund #4429) Donations from this fund are used to provide coffee/refreshments for patients at the VA Clinic.

FAIRBANKS TAXI VOUCHERS (Fund #4430) Donations from this fund are used to provide Veteran patients who do not have transportation resources with taxi vouchers for travel to their medical appointments with the VA in Juneau.

To make a monetary donation to the Alaska VA, please make check payable to: ALASKA VA HEALTHCARE SYSTEM and document the fund that you want the donation deposited into on the Memo line of the check. Checks can be mailed to:

Alaska VA Healthcare System
ATTN: Voluntary Service (135)
1201 North Muldoon Road
Anchorage, AK 99504

If you want to provide your monetary donation online to the Alaska VA Healthcare System, please visit the Alaska VA webpage at and click on Volunteer or Donate button on the left-hand side of the page. Please follow the steps provided to make your online donation. THANK YOU!!!

Volunteer Opportunities at the Alaska VA

Information Desk  VA Outpatient Clinic, Anchorage Provide information and assist Veterans, their care givers, family members, and other visitors when they enter the clinic. Answer telephone and respond to inquiries with accurate information. Volunteers help Veterans check-in, give accurate directions to medical appointments and other visits, and whenever possible, offer to take visitors to their respective destination. When assistance is needed, transport Veteran patients throughout facility, including assistance to the Joint Venture hospital through pedestrian link (JBER access required). Schedule flexible Monday through Friday between the hours of 8am-4:30pm.

Information Desk Veterans Benefits Administration (VA Outpatient clinic, 2nd Floor, Anchorage):Provide information and assist Veterans when they visit the reception area. Answer telephone and respond to inquiries with accurate information. Volunteers are needed Monday through Friday between the hours 8:30 a.m. “ 4 p.m.

Program Assistant  Women Veterans Program: Helps distribute monthly education material throughout the VHA clinic and assists mailing education information to outlying VA facilities. Help change bulletin boards with updated information and current health care campaigns. Helps organize Spring Health and Wellness Fair and Fall Women Veterans Recognition Ceremony. Assist with developing brochures and flyers to publicize current classes and offerings specific to women Veterans. Ensures variety of Women Veteran Program information is up-to-date in patient waiting areas. Flexible schedule, minimum 4-6 hours per week.

Van Drivers Veterans Transportation Service (VTS): VTS Drivers are regularly scheduled volunteers who provide transportation for Veterans to VA authorized medical appointments and other VA services in the community. Drivers us VA vehicles, drive in a safe manner and abide by all state driving laws. Volunteers interact with veteran passengers in a professional courteous manner, and complete required reporting forms for each trip. Drivers also provide ambulatory plus wheelchair assistance during entry and exit from the vehicle, and safely secure Veterans with seatbelts and wheelchair lock-down mechanisms. While performing their volunteer driving assignment, drivers are covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act. . VTS Drivers must have a valid driver™s license, show proof of insurance, complete a (free) VA physical fitness for motor vehicle operation medical examination, and have a safe driving record.

My Health Vet (MHV) Program: Volunteers are needed to assist at the MHV enrollment stations at the main facility. Volunteer will register Veterans on MHV, provide instructions how to navigate MHV and the Secure Messaging website, assist with questions and password resets, contacting Veterans by phone to encourage registrations, give reminder phone calls to upgrade individual MHV accounts, and assist with presentation in the community and VA facilities to provide MHV outreach. Volunteer schedules are flexible, operations conducted Monday through Friday from 8 am “ 4:30 pm. Volunteers are required to complete training to receive computer access.

Information technology (IT) Assistant: Assists with hardware setup, installations and deployments, inventory updates, IT Help Desk tickets, and special project assignments as needed. Requires basic knowledge and skills applying IT principles and practices. Written and oral communication skills required, plus ability to analyze basic facts related to computer-related issues. Basic computer typing skills, ability to lift 35 pounds (printers, routers, switches, etc.) Flexible schedule.

MOVE Buddy Rehabilitation Service: MOVE! Is a national weight management program designed by the VA National Center for Health Promotion and disease Prevention (NCP), a part of the Office of Patient Care Services, to help to Veterans lose weight, keep it off and improve their health. Volunteers will learn how to use basic motivational interviewing communication skills to provide empathy, support, and motivation to change health behaviors. They will provide actual counseling or any nutritional medical information. General guidelines include assigning males to males and females to females. Works with MOVE coordinator who will match veterans and MOVE buddies. MOVE Buddies will make at least 2-4 calls to assigned MOVE Veteran per month. Documents call numbers and time spent on the calls. Meets at least quarterly with MOVE buddy facilitator. Ideal volunteers include former or current MOVE participants and other volunteers who have made healthy life-style changes by increasing physical activity, and /or eating healthy. Ideal candidates are those with experience with telephone interviews and good customer service skills. Must be able to use a telephone. Flexible schedule, office telephone available on Fridays.

Receptionist Office of the Director: Volunteer provides phone coverage, outstanding customer service, computer operations, and excellent communication skills. Work is sedentary, volunteers are expected to provide a minimum of 2-3 hours of assistance per day, hours of operation are 8 am “ 4:30 pm. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old.

Office Operations Support Clerk Health Administration Service: Operates B/W and color copiers, booklet binding machine, paper drill, power cutter and other Office Operations and Mail Room equipment. Require good customer service and communication skills. Ability to understand and follow instructions, verbally and in writing. Ability to complete tasks in a timely and accurate manner. Standing, walking, and sitting for extended periods. Tasks include sorting mail, running mail machine, pushing carts and equipment racks, plus lifting/carrying items up to 10 pounds. Volunteer schedule is weekdays from 8 am to 4 pm with flexible hours (morning or afternoon). Volunteers must be at least 18 years old.

Patient Education Assistant: Volunteer creates informational packets for a variety of patient education disease prevention classes. Makes copies and assembles booklets, trifolds, and other education materials. Replenishes educational materials in patient waiting areas, and assists with distribution of materials to VA facilities throughout Alaska (e.g. Community Based Outpatient Clinics, etc.) Excellent clerical skills required. Standing, sitting, walking and lifting will be minimal. Volunteer schedule: two days per week, flexible hours.

Public Affairs Assistant: volunteer makes changes to the Alaska VA internal and external internet and assists the Public Affairs Office with posting information on the Alaska VA Facebook. Volunteer must be proficient with SharePoint, Social Media, Power Point and Excel. Volunteer schedule is flexible during weekdays.

Filling Assistant Surgical/Speciality Clinics: volunteers are needed to assist staff with organizing files in various areas in the specialty clinics two days per week (Monday through Friday) any time of the day between the hours of 8:00 am until 4 p.m.

Reception Assistant Rehabilitation Service (Audiology) : Volunteer interacts with Veteran patients in person and on the telephone. Helps organize program materials, and provides general support for the Rehabilitation clinic, helping manage daily tasks and activities. Calls patients to inform them when their hearing and repairs are complete, and contacts patients to remind them of appointment days/times. Must have ability to communicate effectively, maintain patient confidentiality, and possess effective administrative and interpersonal skills. Physical requirement include standing for short periods of time and sitting for extended periods of time.

Secretary for Alaska Veterans Mental Health Wellness Council (Local Recovery Coordinator): Volunteer prepares meeting minutes and services as a bridge to available support services. Assists with supporting veterans and family members with holistic recovery events and education. Participates in joint activites with many different support agencies.

Office Assistant-Primary Care: Volunteer performs various clerical duties such as but not limited to preparing faxes, organizing documents in binder, and delivering documents to departments.

Front Desk Volunteer-Fairbanks Veteran Center: volunteer greets clients, answers phone and directs calls, notifies counselors when clients arrive for appointments, keeps coffee and refreshments stocks, distributes requested forms, and operates fax and copier machines.

Alaska VA Healthcare System Voluntary Service (907) 257-4839

Contact our VAVS Chair: