Help a Vet : Donate Your Old DVDs to VA Hospitals

Even if you’re an infrequent reader of Home Theater and, I’m betting that you have at least one DVD lying around at home that you’ve never watched, won’t ever watch, don’t want to watch again, didn’t care for when you watched it the first time, or still has you wondering how your spouse could have ever thought that particular movie would make a great gift. In fact, chances are that you have a great many more than just one under-appreciated, space-taking, dust-collecting DVD in your possession. (Avid Blu-ray movie buyers probably have lots of unwatched DVDs that are packed in the same case along with the Blu-ray Disc.) At an absolute bare minimum, you at least know someone who has a few DVDs that fit into one of the above categories.

Some of those DVDs might be war-related, but you don’t have to watch a movie, such as Black Hawk Down, Born on the Fourth of July, or Apocalypse Now, to know that war is hell—and that it can often have long-lasting effects on the lives of those military men and women who choose to serve.

There are lots of people who show their “support” for our troops by placing a bumper sticker on their car—and leave it at that. We in the home theater community can do better, thanks to the vision of an organization called DVDs4Vets. DVDs4Vets says their mission is to provide donated DVDS to “veterans who for any reasons cannot obtain DVDs on their own.” Many of these Vets are soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious wounds and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) that require long-term rehabilitation.

There are two ways you can help. One is by sending your DVDs directly to the VA facility nearest to you. You can use DVDs4Vets’s V. A. Facility Locator to find one of the over 1,500 Veterans’ hospitals or Vet centers in your area that DVDs4Vets works with. Alternatively, you can send your DVDs directly to DVDs4Vets. For, collections of 1,000 or more DVDs, DVDs4Vets will even offer to visit you and help pack and transport the donation.

Since many V.A. hospitals no longer have VCRs, DVDs4Vets doesn’t accept VHS tapes. On the other hand, they will accept

Donations of military memorabilia that include die-cast models, 12” military figures (GI Joe) and other hard to find items. When these items are delivered to V.A. hospitals, they are used in display cases to commemorate past service of Veterans.

There are some DVDs you shouldn’t send:

Because we receive large donations from several Hollywood studios, we cannot accept home-burned copies (bootlegs). Also, many of the V.A. hospitals prohibit adult-related material (pornography) so we ask that neither are donated. Please also take into consideration that horror movies and anything scary should not be donated.

Operating as a conduit to get DVDs to the Vets in need, DVDs4Vets says they “are not politically affiliated nor solicit or receive financial assistance.”

So far more than 556,000 DVDs have been donated through the program. Let’s see if we can add some significant numbers to that.

Rob Sabin's picture
Thanks for bringing our attention to this great program, Darryl. A thoughtful way to put idle, space-robbing discs to use. I'll be hunting through my collection this weekend... -Rob Sabin, Editor-in-Chief