What to Donate to a Veterans Hospital

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Originally published on July 12, 2017 and updated on October 14, 2020. Thank you to Thirty-One Gifts for sponsoring this post. All opinions are always 100% my own.

These ideas of what to donate to a veterans hospital can be used for many different reasons. Whatever your motivation, you’ll find these 8 different ideas helpful since there’s something for every budget and skill level.

top - man in Army uniform holding crutches, bottom - 3 bags with "hero" and different military services embroidered with title text in between reading What to Donate to a Veterans Hospital

Military and veterans causes have always been near and dear to my heart. My dad was a veteran. I’m a veteran. In two generations of my family there are 11 veterans.

In finding ways to support veterans and active duty service members, it’s important to me to do something that is truly helpful and helpful when it’s most needed. These eight tips on what to donate to a veterans hospital really do make a positive impact. They’re also great ideas for group donation projects.

Always be sure to contact your local veterans hospital or veterans group before donating items. Each hospital has unique needs and restrictions. These donation ideas are accepted in most areas, but please make sure that your hospital can use them and will accept them before you make a delivery of items.

Also, coordinate the delivery of your donation with the hospital before you arrive so they have space to store it and staff available to assist. 

To locate a veterans hospital near you, simply enter your zip code at the Veterans Health Administration website.

Group of older man, many in wheel chairs, saluting in front of the World War II memorial.

 If you don’t have a veterans hospital close to you, contact your local veterans group. They will know the specific needs in your area.

If you live in an area with a military medical center, the needs are often the same so you could donate items to active duty members that are receiving medical treatment. 

Receiving treatment at a veterans hospital is not the same as stopping by your local clinic or hospital. Many veterans have to drive several hours to their nearest facility. For example, I live in the suburb of a metropolitan city, but my nearest veterans hospital is an hour away. That distance often makes it difficult for family and friends to bring the veteran items they may need.

If you’ve ever stayed in a hospital, you know that they care for your physical needs, but your personal comfort needs are often left to you and your family.

What to Donate to a Veterans Hospital or Military Medical Center

Magazines and Books – Magazines and books that are easy reads and appeal to a veterans. Think of fast moving, suspense novels and easy-to-read magazines. When you don’t feel well and are constantly interrupted by hospital staff, an easy-to-pick-up read is a better fit than a complex read that requires focus and concentration. Think about the veterans and military members you know. What types of magazines and books interest them?

Personal Care Items – Many veterans either didn’t anticipate a hospital stay or stay longer than expected. Often the veterans hospital is several hours from the veteran’s home so they may not have the personal items they need when they stay at the hospital or anyone to easily drop the items off for them. 

  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Comb & Hairbrush
  • Soap
  • Travel Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Shaving Cream & Disposable Razor
  • Feminine Hygiene Items
  • Deodorant
  • Hair Bands & Clips

New Clothing – In addition to personal care items, often veterans don’t have a change of clothes for an unexpected hospital stay. Again, often the veterans hospital is far enough from the veteran’s home that it may not be convenient for family or friends to bring clothing items to the hospital.

Brown Army VIetnam Veterans hat on man's knee sitting in wheelchair

Frequent Flier Miles and Hotel Points – It can be expensive and difficult for veterans and their families to travel to and from the veterans hospital for treatments. Many hospitals and veterans groups have programs that allow you to donate your frequent flier and hotel points. This provides for the travel and lodging costs for veterans and their families traveling to the veterans hospital for treatment.

Ear Buds & Portable Chargers – Have you ever shown up for a doctor appointment and ended up unexpectedly spending hours or even days, if you’re admitted. Most people have their phone with them, but may not have thought to bring ear buds or a phone charger. And hospital roommates greatly appreciate roommates with earbuds.

Cards and Letters – Never underestimate the power of a thoughtful note. I’ve seen first-hand when I was on active duty how much of a positive impact a note of support from a caring stranger makes. Knowing that someone you don’t know cares enough to take the time to write a note is immeasurably encouraging.

Financial Donations – You can make monetary donations to veterans hospitals if that works best for you.

2 images of grey tote bags with "Army" embroidered on them

Bags of All Kinds – If you’ve ever been hospitalized you know that they give you a plastic bag to keep your personal items in. While a plastic bag is better than nothing, it’s also a bit degrading (and the bags always fall apart which only makes it more degrading as you clutch a ripped bag of your personal items to your chest). Having a sturdy bag to keep personal items in is much more practical and dignified. 

I’ve always been a big fan of the bags, totes and coolers from Thirty-One Gifts. They’re incredibly well made and so useful in organizing many different aspects of a busy life.

I became an even bigger fan when they added the hero personalization options. The personalization options have changes since I received these items. There are still design options that work well for veterans like a star and an airplane. You can then add “hero” with monogram text choices. 

collage of tote bags and backpacks with military logos and text

Some donation ideas of useful bags:

  1. Cinch Sac backpack and a Tall Organizing Tote would be perfect for an overnight stay or for toting equipment and supplies to rehab appointments
  2. An Around The Clock Thermal bag would be perfect for carrying medicine that requires temperature control or meals and snacks for diabetics.
  3. An All Packed Duffle or Going My Way Backpack would be perfect for packing personal items for your trip home from the hospital. 
  4. A 18×18 Pillow would be a big help after surgery or in rehab. It can be nearly impossible to find a comfortable position and having a personalized pillow would help with physical and mental comfort.
3 drawstring backpacks with "hero" and military logos

You can add logos to a variety of the products at Thirty-One Gifts. Look how amazing my Air Force logo bag looks! I am so-ooo enamored with it. I’ve consistently used it over the years and it is holding up really well and looks almost new. 

blue and white chevron striped back with "hero" and airplane embroidered on the front

Thanks to Thirty-One Gifts, I’m off to donate these bags and pillow to my local military medical center and veterans hospital. What will you donate to a veterans hospital?

image of veteran with crutches and military themed bags with text overlay reading What to Donate to a Veterans Hospital

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12 Comments

  1. Those bags are so neat! When I clicked on the link, I saw they’re having a great sale on some items right now too! I never thought about donating to a Veteran’s Hospital before. We’ve donated things to a Children’s Hospital, but never thought about the Veteran’s Hospital needing things too. You’ve come up with a great list of unique ideas, like donating frequent flier miles/hotel points.

    1. Thirty One bags are absolutely the best! They’re really well made and they have such lovely designs. The bags would be great for donations to a children’s hospital, too, Brenda. Happy to find another donation idea.

  2. This is such a great idea! My daughter and I do monthly Random Acts of Kindness, and are always in need of new ways to help. We love Thirty-one Gifts, and will be taking your suggestions during our next RAoK!

    1. I love that you purposefully do Random Acts of Kindness each month with your daughter, Andrea. What a great thing on so many levels. And I’m with you – big fan of Thirty-One Gifts here!!

  3. My daughter passed away in May and I have several items that were never opened and no one around here will except them. I have catheters 16f, leg bags , overnight bags, and several other items. I didn’t know if I could donate these types of things to the VA hospital. If I cannot donate them to the vets do you know where I can donate these to.

    1. I am so very sorry for your loss, Sheila. I don’t think that the VA will accept them. You can try MediSend International and MedShare.org.

  4. Can I donate leather working tools, leather, dyes, stains and paint along with patterns etc..to a Veterans Hospital…?

    1. I’m going to guess not because those are pretty specific items. But you should call and ask. You could also reach out to your local VFW or American Legion and ask if they know of anyone who would like the tools.

  5. I have had no luck in finding the best place within the Veterans Administration
    To donate a brand new Air Hawk electric wheelchair, fully equipped.
    It has not been used, and I thought that there might be a veteran who
    might have need for this. Please ,have someone from the Donor Department
    get in touch with me.
    My email is : genie411gt@yahoo.com
    Thank you very much.

    1. That’s got to be incredibly frustrating! Try contacting your local VFW, American Legion or Disabled American Veterans organizations. They may have a local contact.

  6. I have handmade blankets. We are knitters and we crochet. I have a bag full of blankets. Please tell me where I can bring them mostly the size for a wheel chair.

    1. You can try calling your local VA hospital or local veterans nursing home, Adrian. You could also contact your local VFW or American Legion and ask if they have any ideas for you. Thanks for helping veterans!

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