Volunteers speak on why they serve and why more people don’t

Every day, Americans donate their time, skills and energy to their communities by volunteering with nonprofit organizations. The Associated Press interviewed five volunteers about what motivated them to get involved and why they think more people don’t give their time.

Recently released data from the U.S. Census and AmeriCorps showed that volunteer participation fell 7 percentage points between 2019 and 2021, part of a long trend in declining volunteerism.

These interviews have been edited for length and clarity:

SAN FRANCISCO — For 16 years, Troy Brunet has volunteered with Project Homeless Connect in San Francisco and leads their initiative to give eyeglasses to those who need them. The 58-year-old passes out cards with information about the organization’s events wherever he goes and describes the joy he gets from bringing volunteers together. He tells them to talk with the people who come in for help, to really connect with them.