By Elizabeth Riggs

The season of giving is right around the corner. And for many, that goes hand in hand with giving a bit of extra time, or lending a helping hand to area businesses and nonprofit organizations that rely on volunteer support and services. For those who are looking to chip in around Ellicottville, there are local agencies and businesses that could use the extra support.

The Rotary Club in Ellicottville was founded on the very principle of service. With more than 1 million members nationwide, the group’s members volunteer their time and talents to try and make a difference fighting the world’s most persistent issues, such as promoting peace, fighting disease, supporting education or growing local economies.

The Ellicottville Chapter of the Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the American Legion at 6500 Maples Road.

According to Ellicottville Rotary President Greg Cappelli, the club is currently focused on its annual Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas event, coming up on Dec. 2 at Ellicottville Brewing Company.

During the event, community members are asked to donate a new, unwrapped toy or make a monetary donation, which will be accepted at McCarthy’s wagon, parked at the event. The Rotary uses the donations for their Santa’s Workshop, which provides gifts and Christmas dinners to families in the area that are less fortunate.  The event is an annual way to share the Christmas spirit and give back to the community.

The Rotary is always accepting new members, and also has volunteer opportunities for people who aren’t official members of the group.

“We have what we call Friends of Rotary, which are people who volunteer for events,” Cappelli said.

For more information on the Rotary or to join, contact Cappelli at 716-474-7832.

As many know, local libraries aren’t just the go-to spot for just books these days. They’re also a hub for seminars, groups, and learning opportunities. According to Ellicottville Memorial Library Director Laura Flanagan, the library is in need of a special kind of volunteer — community members who may be interested in donating their knowledge.

“We are always looking for someone in the community with a talent or a hobby that they’d like to share,” said Flanagan. “We have several craft groups, but I would love to have someone who might bring in other audiences.”

According to Flanagan, just a one-time donation of time to host a class or seminar and knowledge sharing would be a huge help. However, the library also utilizes the help of volunteers three times a year during book sales.

“For the book sales, we can always use help sorting books and manning the book sale itself,” said Flanagan.

For those who would rather help spruce up Mother Nature herself, the Nannen Arboretum may be a great option. Nannen is a nonprofit, eight-acre arboretum and botanical garden organization dedicated to providing home, garden and natural resource education.

As a nonprofit, the arboretum depends on the support of volunteers, and can specially use some help now before the harsh cold weather comes.

“We still have some work to do before the snow flies: raking and moving leaves to the parking area, and moving wood chips from the parking area to Northrup Nature Hall,” said Pat Kerl, a Master Gardener who helps out at the arboretum. “Once winter sets in, we hibernate until spring, but we are looking for volunteers in many areas again next season.”

Spring volunteering would include helping with the herb garden, which is being redesigned to make it easier to maintain; tree inventory; and perennial gardens and grounds maintenance.

“We are looking for volunteers to adopt one of the herb gardens and then participate in its redesign; moving of border stones, planting/replanting of herbs, and ongoing maintenance,” said Kerl. “We are also looking for volunteers interested in learning about the different tree species in the arboretum and to adopt an area, familiarize themselves with the trees in the area, review and record the condition of the trees, determine pruning requirements and report their findings back to the Board so that any required actions can be taken.”

Perennial maintenance would include weeding, mulching, trimming, raking leaves, gathering branches, etc.

Those with interest in volunteering at the arboretum can contact

Alley Katz of Ellicottville is also another great choice for nature lovers. The local group of volunteers plant and maintain the flowers in the village during the spring, as well as decorate the gazebo with a Christmas tree and lights in the winter.

To join their group, or to find out how you can help, contact them through their Facebook page @EvilleAlleyKatz.

No matter how you decide to pitch in and make a difference, you won’t be sorry for helping.  After all, as the saying goes, it’s always better to give than to receive. Best of luck in your volunteering endeavors this season!