VA volunteers start free library project for Veterans


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If you’ve ever had to sit in the waiting room at your doctor’s office, you know how painful that wait can be.  Whether it’s 15 minutes, half an hour or longer….it can seem forever.

VA volunteer Anita McAllister found a way for Veterans and their family members or caregivers to beat those waiting blues.  McAllister and Voluntary Service Assistant Sharon Ladner came up with an idea of a rolling book cart.  Once the idea was hatched, the rest fell into place easily.

“I am very active in the community and I knew once people knew what we were trying to do and who it was for, we would have no problem getting books donated,” McAllister said.  And she was right.  The Ocean Springs Library donated five huge boxes of books.  It was enough to get started.

McAllister is a member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 42.  Last year she served as the state president.  She and five other ladies in the unit agreed this was a very worthwhile project.  They have been offering free books and magazines for just about a year now and based on the feedback she receives from patrons, the rolling book cart is a huge success.

The book cart is located at the MyHealtheVet office in the outpatient clinic area at the Biloxi VA Medical Center on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  All books are free to any Veteran, their family members, and their caregivers.

Making it happen (photo above) are (L to R): Linda Doeden, Louise Butler, Anita McAllister, Melissa Rivera, Faye Jackson and Thelma Doby.

Patients return books and bring others to donate

Patrons can keep the books but McAllister finds that many Veterans not only return the books they get off the cart, they also bring other books to donate.

“We had over 1,000 books donated,” McAllister said.  “Veterans love our cart, we hear thank you every day.”

Recently, the volunteers started taking the rolling book cart up to the 4th floor, to the inpatient hospital area.  That, too, has been well received.

McAllister has been a volunteer at the Biloxi VA Medical Center for the past seven years.  She and her group also offer cookies and coffee on the days they volunteer.

“We enjoy the conversation with Veterans.  You can learn so much history from hearing their stories.  Our hope is that they get as much out of our interactions as we do.  Our hearts are filled,” she said.


About the author: Mary Kay Gominger works in the Public Affairs Office of the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System 

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Barbara Fuller    

    Great idea! Stupid questions BUT>>>>does UPS/FedEx, Post Office, Anyone….donate free shipping if we want to send books to you? OR>>>>I live near 08234. Are there any vet groups close by that I can donate books to? Thanks for all you do!!!

    Best,

    Barb

  2. stanley benjamin shack    

    question: i am 79 years old. A VIETNAM VETERAN. iu RECIEVD SOCIAL SECURITY, RETIERED NY PD SGT. I HAVE BEEN WORKIN FOR THE FEDERAL GOVOVERNMENT THE LAST 14 YEARS. i WILL BE PUTTING IN FOR A US ARMY DISABILITY (15 TO 30%). wILL MY SOCIAL SECCCURITY CHECK BE REDUCED.? wOULD I BE TOLD NOT TO WORK FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANY MORE. i WAS ALSO INJURED(NEGLIGENCE BY MY DEPARTMENT,) DIFFERENT INJURY. mY LAWYER STATED I COULD IF I WANT TO GET A 66 2/3 DISABILITY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. qUESTION WILL MY SOCIAL SECUERITY BE REDUCED? AND IF SO HOW MUCH.?

  3. Ansley Gerald Wood    

    I have paperback and hardback books that I have transferred to my NOOK Reader. Instead of throwing them out I would like to donate them. Please send me the address where I can send the books.

    1. lifesaver 1    

      Best you go talk to someone @ the social security office.

  4. Luther Ables    

    Contact the STATE VETERANS AFFAIRS BOARD. We are having Mississippi County Veterans Service Officer training IN BILOXI on 18 – 20 October 2017. Get them to spread the word by email…you may get a lot of books. Chuck Holifield is the Director and can be reached at 601-364-7182

  5. Katherine Baker    

    Please help me. I was engaged to Veteran, James C. Cassidy, at the time of his death. I have been told that I am eligible to receive benefits. I am a disabled woman, and I would appreciate it, to be referred to someone, that will help me get the benefits, that I need and deserve.

    Thanks, Katherine Baker

  6. Roger martel    

    I was in service military in 1946..
    I was told all my teeth needed to be pulled.
    Against my approvel. They pulled them.
    I have had the dentures . From military since 1946
    . They are so lose. I can hardly chew.
    Is the VA responsible for giving me new dentures.

    I feel this IS military connected.

Comments are closed.