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By the way for Dec. 9

With COVID-19 around it’s more difficult for people to go caroling or attend a Messiah sing-along. So Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater has found a way to bring the season into everyone’s living room — and raise money for hungry Addison County residents in the process. The artistic nonprofit has enlisted some of the area’s best singers and musicians to make videos, and has packaged them together as the “Holiday Jukebox,” which will roll out on Christmas Eve, according to THT Artistic Director Douglas Anderson. It’ll cost $10 per household to partake, with proceeds benefiting Middlebury’s Giving Fridge, an innovative program that partners with local restaurants to feed the hungry. Last year, Holiday Jukebox scored hundreds of views and raised more than $2,600 for the HOPE Food Bank. This year’s lineup includes Clint Bierman; The Almendros; Lila, Carina & Sadie Brightman; Ashley Betton; the Young Tradition Touring Group; the Middlebury College Mamajamas, an a cappella group; Jillian Torres & Chuck Miller; the Middlebury Congregational Church Bell Choir; 8 Cuerdas; and the Middlebury College Community Choir singing an original piece by Middlebury composer Peter Hamlin. For tickets, go to townhalltheater.org, or call the THT Box Office at 802 382-9222 (Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m.).

Calling all engineers! The Sheldon Museum in Middlebury is looking for volunteers interested in joining a dedicated crew which runs the model trains at the museum during late December through early January. This is the 29th year of this popular Holiday Train Display. The layout stands three levels high, with tracks running Lionel O gauge trains, Lionel 027 gauge trains and an upper track running HO trains. Volunteers run the trains Tuesday through Friday, 1:30-3:30 p.m., and Saturdays 1-3:30 p.m. No model train experience is necessary; one of the current engineers will provide training. This volunteer opportunity is fun and rewarding — there’s nothing like seeing the reaction of visitors of all ages as they watch the trains roll along the track. If you’re interested in participating please email [email protected] or call the Sheldon at 802-388-2117.

The Vermont Migrant Education Program is beginning a new cohort of volunteer mentors for young Spanish-speaking farmworkers who want to make connections in their community. Orientation starts in January. Mentors must be at least age 25, agree to a background check, speak conversational Spanish, have reliable transportation and access to internet, and be able to commit to mentoring about four hours a month for at least one year. Each mentor will be matched with a youth based on location, schedule and mutual interests. Most, but not all, locations are in northern and western Vermont. Mentoring can include outdoor activities such as hiking or biking, cultural events such as festivals, museum visits, business or college tours, playing games together, or simply chatting. Training and support provided. To learn more about this and other volunteer opportunities, contact Sarah Braun Hamilton at 802-503-2009, or [email protected]. Download a volunteer application at go.uvm.edu/olpp.

It’s that time of year again when the United Church of Lincoln shares surprise gifts with friends and neighbors in Lincoln and beyond who might need a hand with groceries, gift buying, hospital bills, snow tires and more. As money comes in, the congregation sends it right out. Many gift recipients are neighbors you might already know. Volunteers hope to start delivering these gifts in a week or so. If you can, write a check to the United Church of Lincoln, and note Deacons Fund on the memo line. You can drop it off at the church anytime; someone is there every morning from 8:30-noon. Or you can mail to the church as 23 Quaker St., Lincoln, VT 05443.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, the Shoreham Congregational Church is cancelling plans for an in-person Christmas Eve service and will instead offer a period of prayer and meditation. The Church Sanctuary will be open from 4-6 p.m. on Christmas Eve for anyone to come for prayer and meditation. There will be recorded music and printed meditations available to celebrate the birth of Christ. All are invited to stay for 15 minutes or an hour to find a place of quiet and inspiration during this busy time of year. Face masks are required regardless of vaccination status.

Vermont State Police are looking for more than a few good men and women to fill its depleted ranks. The VSP is in the midst of an intensive recruiting effort this month to attract trooper candidates for upcoming classes at the Vermont Police Academy. The VSP is carrying around 36 vacancies, a number that takes into account the 10 newly hired troopers currently attending the Vermont Police Academy. The state police has an authorized strength of about 330 sworn personnel across 10 barracks statewide — including here in New Haven. In addition to normal attrition and retirements, state police has seen applications dip considerably during the past two years. Information on how to apply to the VSP is available online at vsp.vermont.gov/employment.

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