Volunteers at VA hospital deliver groceries to at-risk veterans during the pandemic

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is getting food into the hands of at-risk Lowcountry veterans while practicing social distancing.

This is part of a new curbside delivery program.

The VA suspended all other volunteer operations due to the pandemic.

The curbside delivery program allows select volunteers to bring food to veterans without making contact.

Donated items from the VA food pantry are packed into brown bags along with personal hygiene items.

The volunteers wear masks and gloves sanitizing each item before packing it.

The bags are then loaded into the cars of volunteers who drop them off on the doorsteps of veterans referred by social workers.

“The purpose of this program is to ensure that we are meeting the needs of veterans who really need to stay at home because they are either in that special population, or they have some sort of health condition where leaving the home could put them at a higher risk.”

Sue Kerver, Voluntary Service Program Manager, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center

In two weeks, the program has helped about 45 veterans at high risk for Covid-19.

One volunteer, Charles Poandl, who used to bring veterans to the VA for services, says the curbside delivery program lets him give back during the pandemic.

“If you can imagine, they are shut in and the access to the outside world is so limited… They need things. How else would they get them? I want to help veterans because I am a veteran and I have seen the hardships that they have had to go through and continue to go through… now during this pandemic, this is the least I can do.”

Charles Poandl, Volunteer Driver, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center

You can deliver shelf-stable food directly to the Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital in downtown Charleston.

Volunteers will meet you at your car, wearing masks, to pick up the items.

For more information on the curbside delivery service for veterans, click here.

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