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Where to volunteer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

USO Northwest, Fisher House and others

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Looking for a way to give back but not sure how to get started or where to donate your precious time? A number of large organizations on Joint Base Lewis-McChord are staffed almost entirely by volunteers and more hands are always needed.

USO Northwest, which operates the USO at SeaTac airport as well as the Shali Center on McChord Field, welcomes home JBLM servicemembers from deployments and runs the Mobile Canteen, which travels across JBLM providing support via information and food.

Since deployments and homecomings can happen at any hour, volunteers who have flexible hours are great, but the Shali Center is open and staffed 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

"The USO Northwest also tries to support as many events on base as possible," explained Meaghan Cox, USONW Communications and IT lead. "Volunteers who are comfortable speaking to groups would be great for this position."

To volunteer for the USONW, fill out an application at A USONW Staff member will then contact them via email and find out which volunteer opportunity is best for them.

"We really need people who can commit to a regular schedule, like coming in every Thursday morning," said Krista Brandt, volunteer coordinator for the JBLM Fisher House. "We have a lot of event volunteers but getting in-house help, from doing laundry to computer work, is more of a challenge."

Volunteers must go through the volunteer management system ( and once approved, they can go to the house and figure out where their strengths will be best utilized.

"It's an intimate environment, because although you may not see the families, you are doing a valuable service to benefit them," added Brandt.

To learn more about the Fisher House's needs, call 253.964.9283.

The American Red Cross at JBLM is always looking for new volunteers. While the Red Cross provides volunteers for many military treatment facilities, like Madigan, it also uses volunteers to make follow-up calls after emergency Red Cross messages have been sent. Especially since the scope of the JBLM office is expanding to include Bremerton, King County and Lewis County and the number of cases are expected to double.

"We always need volunteers for outreach, people who can attend events and convey the Red Cross message," said volunteer coordinator Ana Clark. "This is a great opportunity for spouses since they can work from the office on JBLM or remotely from anywhere. The outreach opportunities can also be done on evenings and weekends, which can be a good fit for stay-at-home mothers."

For more on Red Cross volunteer opportunities, call Clark at 253.968.1055 or email

Any DoD ID holder is eligible to volunteer at the McChord Thrift Shop, which has benefited from 35 years of volunteer labor. To volunteer independently at the McChord Thrift Shop a person must be at least 16 years of age and stop by for a volunteer information packet. Then they bring the completed information form with them the day they'd like to start and training will begin. The McChord Thrift Store is open 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and the first Saturday of every month.

To research all of the volunteer opportunities on base, register with and click on the Volunteer Tools box, then select JBLM as your location and the Volunteer Opportunity tab. Searches can be done by selecting a particular organization or by reviewing position titles. If a position suits your needs, click "Apply" and then complete the required information. Once accepted, someone from the corresponding organization will be in touch.

For additional help, contact the Installation Volunteer Corps, located in the Family Resource Center on JBLM Main, by calling 253.967.2324.

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