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Volunteers sought for inaugural ‘Caring for Your Cemetery Day’

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/17/24 | 4/17/24

By Jennifer Patterson

The New York State Department of State recently announced the first “Caring for Your Cemetery Day,” which will be held on Saturday, April 27.

“Our goal is to teach a new generation of New Yorkers about the importance of our communities’ cemeteries,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “If you want a creative way to get involved in your community, try volunteering at your local cemetery and help future generations learn to appreciate the history, culture and unique stories our cemeteries offer.”

Launched to raise awareness about the hard work and dedication that goes into cemeteries’ care, maintenance and preservation, the Department of State’s campaign is working with cemeteries to recruit volunteers to help prepare for the spring season and Mother’s Day visits.

Through the pilot program, the department and participating cemeteries hope to generate interest in local burial places (especially among younger people), recruit future volunteers, and identify local residents with skills that can help cemeteries in need. 

More than two dozen cemeteries are scheduled to participate in the inaugural event, and the department is hoping to see more in the future. Even if your local cemetery isn’t participating, volunteers are still encouraged to reach out, roll up their sleeves and help with clean up efforts.

“New York’s Cemeteries work diligently to honor and preserve our communities, but we can’t do it without you,” said Nathan Romagnola, president of the New York State Association of Cemeteries. “Volunteerism is essential to properly support New York’s Not-for-Profit cemeteries and ensure that these sacred places are preserved for future generations.”

Clean-up day tasks may include cleaning up small debris and trash, planting flowers, scattering grass seed, and removing downed branches, weeds, overgrowth and old seasonal decorations.

The Department of State’s Division of Cemeteries works to ensure that regulated cemeteries do not become a burden on their communities by continuing to operate on a nonprofit basis. The division regulates nearly 1,700 nonprofit cemeteries in New York State by providing technical assistance in cemetery operations and financial accounting. In addition, it also offers training workshops to educate cemetery operators and volunteers on how to maintain cemeteries, keep financial records, and ensure long-term viability.

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