Area nonprofits are looking to recruit — and salute — volunteers. April is National Volunteer Month — and April 21-27 is National Volunteer Week ­— a commemoration that has several area nonprofits and civic groups looking to bolster their ranks through workshops and informational sessions explaining how just about anyone can pitch in to help.

Hallockville Museum Farm executive director Heather Johnson put a call out to, “all history buffs, farm fans and community service-oriented folks,” with a press release inviting them to learn about volunteering at the historic North Fork homestead during its Volunteer Recruitment Open House Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers are what make Hallockville “tick,” Ms. Johnson said, adding that many hands make light work. “Among the opportunities to help are gardening, organizing and staffing special events, maintaining the buildings, grounds and historical collections, giving tours and more,” the release said. “We encourage interested folks to sign up in advance by emailing [email protected] or by phoning Hallockville at 631-298-5292.” She said walk-ins are welcome as well.

“Hallockville is a nonprofit organization with an important mission — connecting people with Long Island’s agricultural heritage and helping them to understand how that is relevant today,” Ms. Johnson said in the release. “The North Fork wineries and orchards, farm stands and its farm-to-table dining scene are all rooted in the area’s family farm heritage. We think it’s very important to bring that message forward now and for future generations.”

The percentage of the U.S. population that volunteers on an average day has declined by 28% during the past decade, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Area organizations that depend on volunteers are feeling the decline.

“From what I understand, many nonprofit and organizations are struggling to attract and retain volunteers,” said Mark MacNish, executive director of the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council. He added that as a volunteer for the Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society, he can attest that group has also dealt with similar challenges.

Last weekend, Mr. MacNish and the Historical Council held a volunteer recruitment workshop in the community room at Cutchogue New Suffolk Library. Mr. MacNish said last year’s workshop yielded six new volunteers. This year, he said, “doing the same amount of promotion, no one showed up.” But even though he thinks it is getting progressively difficult to attract volunteers, he remains hopeful. “I did have two people contact me to let me know they are interested in volunteering,” Mr. MacNish said. “I hope they pan out.” Interested parties who couldn’t make the workshop can email [email protected].

The Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council “maintains the Cutchogue Village Green and Old Burying Ground as a living memorial to the original founders and all residents of Cutchogue and New Suffolk,” according to its website. Volunteer opportunities include everything from giving tours of historic buildings as trained docents to working the gift shop and setting up for special events held on the Village Green.

Some organizations are reaching out to the community this week with volunteer appreciation initiatives. The New York Marine Rescue Center in Riverhead took to social media with #VolunteerAppreciationWeek to celebrate the national commemoration. Posts highlight notable participants, such as Rescue Team volunteer Ashley, who has clocked over 2,500 hours working for the organization. 

As the primary responders for sick or injured seals, sea turtles, dolphins, porpoises and other marine mammals, and the only such rehabilitation center in New York State, a strong volunteer base is key. Orientations are held monthly and the application and schedule is available at

“Through these extraordinary acts of service, volunteers also have the opportunity to engage with new communities and try new things,” President Joe Biden wrote in an April 19 proclamation marking National Volunteer Week, “building professional networks and friendships, learning skills and finding a sense of purpose.”

National volunteer commemorations originally started in Canada as a way to thank community members who stepped up on the home front during World War II. In 1974, the United States implemented National Volunteer Week, and in 1991, President George H.W. Bush declared April National Volunteer Month, an official celebration.

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