Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering and Donations
- Must be 18 or older.
- Must volunteer one three- or four-hour shift per week for one year.
- Service hours can begin at any time during the calendar year.
- Must be 16 to 17 years old (16 by the first week of June and attending high school in the fall).
- Program requirements and restrictions apply. Please see the Summer Junior Volunteer Program for more information.
Training takes place mostly during the business day. If your desire is to work during the evenings and/or weekends, you will need to arrange your schedule so that you are able to attend our orientation and daytime unit-based training.
Our volunteers have a wide range of contact with a variety of staff members; however, the volunteer program is not structured to provide a shadowing/observational experience.
The application process can take 2-4 weeks to complete. It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our patients with a thorough screening process, which includes a health screening and criminal background check.
Volunteers will be selected to attend an orientation and will be assigned to a specific unit or area where they will receive a second tailored training which specifically covers the volunteer’s duties within the department or hospital unit.
We appreciate the gesture but, due to patient confidentiality and infection control policies, we are not able to accommodate group volunteering in our hospitals on a short-term basis. If your group is interested in doing a project for the hospital, please contact the Volunteer Services Office at (713) 456-5180 for group activities that can benefit the patients and staff at our hospital.
Please call the Volunteer Services office at (713) 456-5180 to inform us of your donation so that we may discuss an appropriate time for drop-off. Please note that in most cases, donated items must be new and should NOT be gift-wrapped in order for us to distribute the items.
- Toiletries: deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, preferably small or travel-sized
- Socks and Underwear: Women's underwear (new) needed in all sizes, as well as athletic socks and footies
- Clothing: T-shirts, elastic-waist pants (like pajama pants or sweatpants), and sports-bras are needed in all sizes. Often our patients' clothing is damaged or must be cut off of their body when they come to the hospital
- Coloring Books: Coloring Books (or drawings that you have Xeroxed and stapled together) with a snack-size baggie attached in which you have placed a few crayons
- Stuffed Animals: Stuffed animals are appreciated by all of our patients, children as well as adults
- Crossword Puzzles and Word Finds: Create your own, or provide the purchased variety. Please include a pencil (one-time use mechanical pencils are best, as patients/family members probably will not have access to a pencil sharpener)
- Craft/Activity Kits: Assemble simple craft/activity kits that have all pre-measured, pre-cut supplies included in a Ziplock bag with a small direction sheet (cross-stitch, needlepoint, bead activities, bracelet-making thread, leather lacing activities)
- Stationery: Note cards, envelopes, or postcards. Please include stamps
- Blankets: Small throws or lap blankets, receiving blankets for newborns
Because our patients come from a wide variety of religious, political, and social backgrounds, we require that all donations be religiously and politically neutral.
If you wish to donate something not on this list, please call our office to discuss.
Due to infection control issues and safety guidelines, we are only able to give our patients newly purchased toys. It is recommended that donated items be in original packaging.
No food (including candy) may be given to the patients. Many of our patients are on dietary restrictions and cannot have certain foods. Please do not bring any edible donations to the hospital. We also ask that you not include any food with other donations.
We are sorry, but because of concerns for the patient's privacy, infection control and security, donors are not permitted to visit patient floors. Please be assured that our patients are appreciative of your donation.
If you or your group is interested in performing at the hospital, please call (713) 456-5180 for more information.
All donations will be acknowledged. If you deliver your donation, fill out a donor form and we will mail you an acknowledgement letter. If you are sending a donation, please include your name, address, and phone number, and we will mail you a letter of acknowledgment. We do not specify dollar amounts on our acknowledgement letters.
Will someone pick up my donation?
Due to staffing and transportation limitations, we are not able to pick up your donations. However, in-kind donations can be mailed to Volunteer Services, Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, 7600 Beechnut, Houston, TX 77074.