Deck the library?

BARRE — It isn’t yet clear how much of a forest will sprout in the Aldrich Public Library in coming days, but as of Wednesday afternoon a dozen decorated trees had been pledged to “Light Up the Library.”

Let’s back up.

“Light Up the Library” is the Friends of the Aldrich Public Library’s latest fundraiser, though, truth be told, they don’t expect the inaugural event to generate a significant amount of money.

This one is more about fun than funds, according to Agatha Kessler, who says there is room for 45 trees (real, artificial or tabletop) and she’s eager to see what the library looks like when it’s all decked out.

The deadline for registering is Friday (just email for the details), the decorating begins Saturday and must be finished before Thanksgiving.


Because the big reveal is scheduled a week from Saturday in conjunction with the Barre Merry Holidays festivities.

Among those who have already agreed to donate and decorate trees that will be on display through Dec. 20 complete with canisters for raffle ticket, include a mix of local businesses, organizations, and families.

Dunkin’ Donuts is planning a doughnut-themed tree, Kitty Corner Café is thinking cats and cups, Boy Scouts are always prepared and the ones who have signed up to donate a tree are no doubt ready to decorate it in creative ways.

Other entries range from Next Chapter Bookstore and the Barre Partnership to Last Time Around Antiques and a local soccer club.

Kessler assures us there is still room for a lot more, and if a tree seems like too tall of an order a wreath would work too.

There is no cost to enter, though you must be ready to part with your decorated tree or other item because they will be raffled off. Raffle tickets, which will be $1 apiece, or six for $5, will start being sold a week from Saturday, once the see-through canisters in which they can be deposited are attached to the trees.

How many trees?

Kessler won’t know until after Friday’s deadline passes, but when it comes to “Light Up the Library” it’s literally the more the merrier.

Food for thought

BERLIN — Folks who missed last year’s roll-out of “Pack the Pantry” can blame the pandemic and while COVID-19 is still a very real thing, so is the need to restock the emergency food shelf at the Salvation Army in Barre.

That’s why “Pack the Pantry” (think “Stuff-A-Truck” with a different radio sponsor, a new location, but a familiar format and the same beneficiary) is back and why Mike Czarny and Mary Cenci of Star 92.9 set up shop outside Price Chopper at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

It’s also why the morning radio hosts are encouraging listeners to swing by the Barre-Montpelier Road supermarket to help them fill what was an empty 53-foot-long tractor trailer from Bellavance with canned goods and other non-perishable food items.

It isn’t empty any more, but it isn’t full either, though that is the goal of “Pack the Pantry, which is expected to continue through Saturday in an effort to collect enough food and monetary donations to keep the Salvation Army’s food shelf running at a time when demand is high.

Don’t just take Czarny and Cenci’s word for it, just ask Lt. Christopher West who says the Salvation Army’s weekly supplemental grocery distribution for less fortunate Vermont families has gone from 120 per week to more than 600 and the emergency food shelf has also gone from preparing 225 meals per week to 2,025.

“It’s been a tough year, we actually ran low in the food pantry in April and have been supplementing the emergency food shelf with funds that are needed in other areas like rent assistance and heat assistance,” West says.

“We understand that much like 2020, 2021 has been a difficult year for many, but we’ve never seen the demand for supplement groceries and our soup kitchen outreach,” he adds. “We’re also worried about seniors, single moms and dads and less fortunate families as the cost of food, heating fuels, gasoline and other necessities continue to rise due to inflation.”

A tractor-trailer filled with food would sure help as would any funds raised during an event Star 92.9 has pulled together with the support of Community National Bank.

If you want to pitch in, just swing by Price Chopper where Czarny and Cenci will welcome all the help they can get.

Seed money?

BARRE — A budding fundraiser that typically nets between $3,000 and $5,000 from folks willing to feed Barre’s parking meters when they don’t have to during the holiday season will have two beneficiaries this year.

Kind of.

City councilors generally agreed they’d like to earmark the money to a small, local charitable cause. There were a few suggestions but two — the Granite Center Garden Club and Good Samaritan Haven — popped to the top of the list.

Which to choose?

The organization behind the decades-old homeless shelter on North Seminary Street or the Granite or the club responsible for beautifying downtown Barre every summer?

Rather than choose between the two, former mayor Thomas Lauzon wondered, why not both?

Lauzon made the council’s decision easy by saying he and his wife, Karen, would make a $5,000 donation to the garden club.

“They make us all smile,” he said, suggesting his donation would allow the council to divert proceeds from the parking meters between Thanksgiving and the end of the year to Good Samaritan Haven.

Raking up?

BARRE — Granite City residents who have been raking away will have one more chance to truck their lawn waste to Barre Town this weekend, or if they act fast (really fast) they can skip the trip and have it collected at the curb.

Starting today the city’s public works crew will begin picking up bagged yard waste, as well as woody debris (no bigger than 5 inches in diameter and no longer than 6 feet). It’s a two-day exercise so depending on where they start and when you’re reading this you might not need to load up your lawn waste and bring it to Barre Town on Saturday.

Unless you do.

If that is the case, the lawn waste site on Upper Holden Road (that’s across the road from Rock of Ages’ Visitors’ Center) will be open from 8 a.m. until noon before closing for the winter.

As always, there is a long list of prohibited materials. Some items (metal, animal carcasses and household garbage) are more obvious than others (stumps, stones and dirt). If you stick to traditional yard waste you’ll be safe. Brush size is limited to 5 inches in diameter, though larger tree branches may be left in the designated firewood area.

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