VA Maryland Health Care System
Personal Holiday Shoppers
This is the season for giving, but what happens to those hospitalized Veterans who can't get to the shops for the holidays? How can they find gifts for their loved ones? Well, a special holiday gift shop comes to them.
The American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Maryland is a group of women who shop all year long using donations and their own budget to set up a holiday gift shop at all three VA Maryland Health Care System inpatient facilities.
Volunteers from the American Legion Auxiliary set up a holiday gift shop at the Baltimore and Perry Point VA Medical Centers, as well as the Loch Raven VA Community Living & Rehabilitation Center prior to the holidays and assist hospitalized Veterans to select free gifts for their loved ones. Mary Griffin, who drives two hours from the Eastern Shore to volunteer as part of this effort, heads up the American Legion Auxiliary Gift Shop. "We have everything from watches and women's clothing to wallets and children's toys," she says, noting that the group works with a $6,000 budget that they can go over if the need to. "We shop in advance all over Maryland and sometimes Delaware to find the best bargains on items."
At the end of the "shopping spree," the Auxiliary volunteers wrap the gifts and mail them for the Veterans whose loved ones live too far away to visit. For those Veterans who cannot leave their rooms, the volunteers visit them to find out what gifts they'd like to give to their love ones. The volunteers then deliver the gifts to the Veterans in their rooms so they are ready to give them to that special visitor.