The air is crisp, the leaves are beginning to change color and everyone is settling back into their routines after summer. The autumn months are packed with special events and ongoing volunteer opportunities in the Seacoast. It’s the perfect time to give back to your local community – this week’s column features volunteer activities that embrace the season. Find more volunteer opportunities on Volunteer HQ at or contact United Way of the Greater Seacoast at or 373-9118. 

Memorial Bridge 5K road race

Seacoast Community School's mission is to provide quality child care and to be responsive to the child care needs of the Seacoast region. On Sunday, Oct. 9, help make the fourth annual Memorial Bridge 5K Road Race run smoothly. Proceeds benefit Seacoast Community School and Prescott Park Arts Festival, and it is a fun day for all. The school is in need of volunteers for any portion of time from 7 a.m. to noon, for tasks that include race registration, safety along the course, and cleanup after the race. Help with preparations the week leading up to the race would also be appreciated.

Contact Jessica Couture, personnel and family benefits coordinator, at 422-8223 or

Location: Portsmouth.

27th annual chili cook off

The primary objective of the Prescott Park Arts Festival is to provide quality family entertainment, promote artistic excellence in the community and maintain quality presentations of both entertainment and educational events. On Sunday, Oct. 9, Prescott Park Arts Festival is promoting the Chili Cook-off. Held on the grounds of Strawbery Banke, the WHEB Chili Cook-Off presents more than a dozen restaurants from the Seacoast and beyond who serve up their best chili in decorated booths for thousands of attendees to sample and cast their votes. In the past, there have been classic, veggie, chicken, seafood ... you name it, and they’ve got it. Once again this year, they’ll be offering Redhook beer to complement the chili goodness and round out the day. Volunteer to help make this event a success.

Contact Angela Greene, operations manager, at 436-2848 or

Location: Portsmouth.

Volunteers needed for CVHS for Haunted Overload

The mission of the Cocheco Valley Humane Society is to provide quality, compassionate care and shelter to its animals in partnership with educating the community with respect to animal treatment and welfare. From Oct. 13 to Oct. 31st, Haunted Overload in Lee, is one of the top Halloween attractions in the country and, for the past several years, this event has been a significant fundraiser for Cocheco Valley Humane Society. Volunteers are coordinated to cover the following positions: one each night for the actors' food table, four each night for the beginning of the haunt, eight each night for directing traffic, and three each night for the haunt exit. There are several dates and times available for volunteers.

Contact the volunteer coordinator at 749-5322 or

Location: Lee.

Fall festival

Strawbery Banke Museum tells the stories of the many generations who settled in this Portsmouth, New Hampshire "Puddle Dock" community from the late 17th to the mid-20th century. On Saturday, Oct. 8, Strawbery Banke’s N.H. Fall Festival, presented each Columbus Day weekend since 2009, creates a traditional New England country fair complete with demonstrations from craftspeople, heritage breed and farm animal exhibits, farm animal and livestock demonstrations, presentations on heirloom seeds and food preservation tips, fiber arts, demonstrations and exhibits on historic crafts and industries, coopering, candle-making workshop in the Horticultural Center, garden tours and demonstrations. They need volunteers from either 9:30 to 1:30 or 1 to 5 to assist with check-in and registration, greeting visitors, and monitoring the gates on to Strawbery Banke's grounds.

Contact Alena Shellenbean, manager of special events and volunteers, at 422-7504 or

Location: Portsmouth.

LEND A HAND: These and hundreds of other opportunities to volunteer or donate goods have been brought to you by the United Way of the Greater Seacoast’s Volunteer HQ, sponsored by NextEra Energy Seabrook.