A new program will allow veterans who are in Iowa V-A hospitals for the holidays to buy gifts for loved ones without having to spend a dime. Christopher Shipp, chief of voluntary services for the V-A Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, says the program is through a partnership with the American Legion Auxiliary.
"It does allow the veteran patient to actually shop for family members or loved ones at no cost to them," Ships says. "That’s the unique thing about it. We always have gift distributions for our veterans that go to them but this allows them to select gifts for other people." After the veteran chooses a gift, he says the auxiliary will make the rest happen.
He says, "The gift wrapping is done for them and any shipping or postage involved, the auxiliary also takes care of that so it’s a wonderful program." Shipp says there is a gift room set up in the facilities which the patients can visit and select an item. If the patient is not able to make it to the gift room, a volunteer will visit the patient.
Shipp says: "The volunteers actually go around to their bedside and introduce themselves and let them know what is going on. The merchandise is actually brand new merchandise that’s purchased from various merchants by the auxiliary itself — quite a variety and array of different kinds of gifts in age ranges from small children all the way up." This is a national program and V-A centers across the country are taking part.