Volunteering at Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center

Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center volunteers are compassionate helpers who donate their time and skills to support our staff, physicians, patients and their families. Our volunteers are dedicated people who approach their critical roles with the same commitment to the St. Joseph Medical Center core values of Reverence, Integrity, Compassion and Excellence as our professional staff.

For everyone from high school and college students interested in learning more about the medical field to retirees who want to make a difference in their community, we do our best to match your skills and talents as a volunteer to the needs of our medical center. 

What’s good for us is also good for you. Brooke Hertzler, a Penn State Health clinical psychologist and licensed clinical social worker, says those good feelings you get from helping others are good for your body, too. Learn how volunteering can improve your health in this Medical Minute.

What are the volunteer eligibility requirements?

At St. Joseph Medical Center all volunteers must meet the following criteria:

  • Commit to 50 hours of volunteering in a 12-month period
  • Commit to a schedule of one four-hour shift per week – same day and time (additional hours may be available)
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Attend an interview with a Volunteer Services representative
  • Provide information on immunizations
  • Comply with mandated background check clearances for the Pennsylvania State Police criminal history check, Pennsylvania Child Abuse History and FBI criminal history
  • Provide references

What is the volunteer application process?

Volunteer Opportunities

We have immediate volunteer opportunities in the following areas:

  • Information desks: Volunteers are needed to greet and direct families, patients and visitors. Shifts start at 7 a.m.
  • Book cart: Volunteers are needed to distribute free books, magazines, reading glasses, puzzles and lap quilts to non-isolation patient rooms and waiting rooms on the Bern campus.
  • Military appreciation campaigns: Volunteers create symbols of tribute and thanks for active and veteran members of our armed forces.

Other volunteer opportunities include:

  • Clerical
  • Reception
  • Patient services
  • Certified pet therapy
  • Hospitality 

These opportunities are subject to change, as the needs of the Medical Center change.


Your donations greatly impact our patients as comfort items and spirit-lifters during their healing journey. We cannot accept items that have been stored in environments such as garages, basements, storage lockers, etc. We currently accept:

  • Books, magazines, activity books (multi-lingual with a particular emphasis on Spanish- speaking materials):  
    • New sudoku, crossword puzzle and word search activity books 
    • Used books or magazines in good condition
    • Please ensure books and magazines are free from tears, discolorations, missing pages, mold/mildew, smoke, pet and musty odors. We do not accept textbooks. 
  • New reading glasses (various powers)
  • New puzzles and games: standard playing cards, card games, checkers, chess, dominoes, etc. Finished puzzle size should not exceed 14 inches wide by 12 inches high.
  • New stuffed animals
  • New art supplies: crayons, colored and regular pencils, pencil sharpeners, origami, sketch books, coloring books (child and adult)
  • Hand-crafted items: quilts/blankets, hats, prayer shawls (child and adult sizes); eyeglass cases, neck pillows, etc. Materials used should be new and free from smoke, pet and musty odors.  
  • Cardiology therapy pillows: please contact Volunteer Services for specific measurement requirements.

Please contact Volunteer Services for donation drop-off arrangements and questions.