The following organizations need volunteer help for a day, a week or on a regular basis.

The City of Gaithersburg's "Operation Secret Santa" needs volunteers and gifts to help children and their families during the holiday season. Call Sarah Messier at 301-258-6350, or send an e-mail to for more information.

The Asbury Methodist Village Foundation seeks discarded stamps from postcards and envelopes. Proceeds from the sale of the stamps benefit the Benevolent Care Program for Asbury Village residents whose financial resources no longer cover the cost of their care. Stamps should be trimmed with about one-quarter inch of paper around the stamp and should be in good condition. Foreign stamps and postcards are especially appreciated. Stamps may be mailed to the Asbury Foundation, 201 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg, Md. 20877, or dropped off during business hours. For more information, contact Joni King at 301-216-4723.

The Mental Health Association of Montgomery County needs volunteers for the following programs:

Kids on the Block, an educational puppet troupe, needs volunteer puppeteers, with or without experience. Volunteers must be 21 or older. Training is provided. For more information, call program coordinator Alyssa Sanders at 301-424-0656, Ext. 156.

Friendly Visitors also are needed to spend time with homebound, elderly people living in private residences, apartments and group homes in Montgomery County. Volunteers are asked to make a one-year commitment and spend a minimum of four hours per month visiting. Orientation and training are provided; visiting times are flexible. For more information or to apply, call program director Carolyn Wanner at 301-424-0656, Ext. 107.

The Jewish Council for the Aging's SeniorNet Computer Training Centers need computer-savvy seniors 50 and older to help coach and teach seniors how to use a computer. The group's training center in Montgomery County has moved to the Asbury Methodist Village's Rosborough Wellness Center in Gaithersburg. To volunteer or for more information, call Micki Gordon at 301-255-4231.

The Maryland Cooperative Extension of the University of Maryland needs master gardener volunteers. Volunteers commit to a minimum of 40 hours the first year and 25 thereafter. An intensive, five-week training course, from Jan. 28 through Feb. 28, meets from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Montgomery County Extension Office in Derwood. The training program fee is $190, which includes textbooks. To request an application, or for more enrollment information, call 301-590-9638. Registration deadline is Dec. 20.

Board and Commissions

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan seeks applicants to fill vacancies on the following commissions and boards:

The Animal Matters Hearing Board has six vacancies. One primary and one alternate vacancy must be filled by a veterinarian or a veterinary technician; one primary and one alternate vacancy must be filled by representatives of recognized animal fanciers and breeders groups; one primary and one alternate vacancy must be filled by representatives of the Montgomery County Humane Society.

Montgomery County Sign Review Board has one vacancy for an architect representative.

Partnership Board for Victims of Hate/Violence has three vacancies. The board reviews and approves applications from victims for compensation from the Partnership Fund for Victims of Hate/Violence.

Committee on Hate/Violence has seven vacancies. The committee consists of 15 voting members and six ex officio, nonvoting members from government agencies, including Montgomery County public schools and Montgomery College.

Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission has three vacancies. The nine-member commission approves historic area work permits and recommends historic sites and historic districts to the Planning Board and County Council for placement on the master plan for historic preservation.

Montgomery County Alcoholic Beverages Advisory Board has one vacancy. The board recommends improvements in alcoholic beverage control and enforcement, and advises on the operation of retail liquor stores and methods of distribution.

Members of county boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time. Candidates should send a letter of interest no later than Dec. 20 to County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe St., Rockville, Md. 20850. Include a brief re{acute}sume{acute}, along with business and home telephone numbers. For more information, call 240-777-2528 or refer to the county's Web site

Nonprofit groups needing volunteers should fax notices to Volunteers at 301-279-5665 or send e-mail to