If 2017 proved one thing, it’s that now more than ever we need to band together and lend helping hands to those in need. And there’s no better time to get started as a volunteer than at the beginning of a new year. Close out Facebook, shut down Instagram and get out into the community—you’ll be glad you did.
Local animal shelters are full of opportunities to volunteer your time and to hang out with some furry friends. Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF) in Wainscott is always looking for volunteers to walk resident dogs and hang out with the cats. Would-be dog walkers must attend an orientation meeting followed by a dog-handling course. Volunteer orientations are now held every Friday at 11:30 a.m., followed by a dog handling class. Jamie Berger, Director of Marketing at ARF, says “If you have any time to spare, we promise you’ll get as much out of it as [the animals] do.” Contact Rita Del Rey at [email protected], or call 631-537-0400 x210, for more info.
The Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation (SASF) in Hampton Bays also needs volunteers to help walk dogs, socialize cats, do laundry and general repairs around the shelter, and to work offsite adoptions and other special events. SASF is also looking for volunteers to help run the ReTail Shop at 30 Jagger Lane in Southampton. SASF’s next volunteer orientation is scheduled for February 3 from 8-9 a.m. for General Orientation and 9-10 a.m. for Dog Walking Orientation, which is mandatory for walking dogs. “Our shelter would not be what it is without our volunteers,” says Kate McEntee, Director of Adoptions at SASF. Email [email protected] or call 631-728-7387 ext. 237 for more info.
Last year at Taste at Port Jefferson, the Welcome Friends Soup Kitchen was honored for being a Port Jefferson staple for 30 years, providing hot, nutritious meals to those in need five days a week. As a 100% volunteer organization, they depend on us, the community, to continue their mission. Currently, the Friends are looking for cooks (they’re willing to train and will provide the Suffolk County Food Management Course); soup kitchen coordinators, who facilitate the operation of the soup kitchen by organizing, assisting and supporting the volunteers; an individual to act as a liaison with Long Island Cares, who will become familiar with grant writing; drivers; and volunteer coordinators, a job that can be done from home. Email [email protected] for more details.
The Retreat Domestic Violence Services in East Hampton provides domestic violence and sexual assault services on Eastern Long Island with education programs and supportive services in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. They are currently in need of volunteers to answer phones at their administrative office in East Hampton. They require a commitment of at least 3 hours per week and specific training is required. Volunteers are also welcome for all of their direct service programs including counseling, legal advocacy, education, SHARP (Structured Help Antiviolence Re-education Program), Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative, Partners in Prevention and their hotline. You can find a volunteer application at theretreatinc.org or call Karina at 631-329-4398.
Art buffs can volunteer at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill. The Parrish offers a variety of ways to be involved, such as taking tickets at programs, greeting guests at fundraisers and assembling mailings. In return for 20 hours of service, volunteers earn a Parrish membership and an invitation to the annual volunteer lunch. You could also share your passion for art by becoming a docent at the museum. Docents receive special training from the Chief Curator and Education Director. To find out more, email [email protected].
The Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry (sagharborfoodpantry.com), located at the Old Whalers’ Church is Sag Harbor Village, and the East Hampton Food Pantry (easthamptonfoodpantry.org) on Pantigo Road are also looking for volunteers and donations.