Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help) for December 19, 2018
As a Cub Scout leader once said, you don’t have to be good, you just have to be LOUD…
Join us for the Second Annual Holiday Sing-along
We’ll gather ’round the piano, share our favorite holiday songs, some mulled cider and snacks.
Kick off Christmas week with some non-sectarian, non-denominational, non-partisan, yet strangely enjoyable community singing! This coming Sunday, 4-6 PM will find us in the Hall and ready to sing with YOU!
Everyone has a favorite song for this time of year–it need not be a “traditional” Christmas carol–could be a pop song that reminds you of the holidays, a unique family favorite that you want to share, just bring your enthusiastic voice, some lyrics if you can (or bring your smartphone if you want to use our free WiFi connection to look ’em up), and your willingness to be part of a musical celebration. Bring some snacks or cookies to share, if you want.
We’ll provide the Grange Musician, Mat Nunnelley, who is skilled at accompanying Grange members at our regular meetings, and loves Christmas songs as well. We’ll also mull some cider, provide some kids’ crafts for those that don’t want to sing along, provide some lyric sheets for a few songs at least, and a warm Hall for a community song-fest.
If you’ve been to a Grange meeting, you know that we sing at least a couple of songs every time–it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of the meeting! Now’s your chance to be part of the fun!
Holiday Meal Food Boxes–being filled with the last items
As I write this on the 19th of December, Merry Shernock has just finished purchasing some more supplies to complete filling the 6 Holiday Boxes, which will be picked up by our co-conspirators at Head Start/Washington County tomorrow, Dec. 20th.
We got some food donations dropped off in the boxes by Grange Hall members and tenants, plus some generous monetary donations. Merry already bought 6 turkeys & roasting pans, and has used the rest of the cash to buy a few more items (especially perishables) to make for festive holiday meals. The families which receive these can prepare their own feasts, plus having some more treats for the rest of the season.
We want to express special thanks to the patrons of “Kids Trade ‘N’ Play”, and to the Premont extended family that celebrated Thanksgiving at the Grange Hall. Generous cash donations from these Grange users enable us to really fill up the festive “dinner boxes”, made by Alison Forrest. Chocolates donated by Nutty Steph will be an extra special treat.
One of the original Grange values is to “dispense Charity“–living our lives so that we can share resources with others who need it, instead of thinking always of “more for me”. Thanks to everyone who brought in food, or donated cash, or donated a special item!
Here’s the list of the items that fill up each of the boxes:
Frozen turkey, onions, potatoes, yams, clementines & apples, mac & cheese mix, chicken soup, pancake mix & syrup, 3 sticks of butter, pie crust & chocolate pie filling, salad mix & dressing, matzo crackers, pineapple chunks, cranberry relish, crackers, Nightly Calming herb tea–plus a centerpiece for the table, courtesy of an anonymous donor!
Below, see pictures of the boxes, and the refrigerator and freezer stuffed with the chilled items, waiting to be picked up!
Another “Grange Tradition” event to put on your calendar: Hall Clean-up!
Coming on the Martin Luther King “Day of Service”, Monday, Jan. 21st! Your chance to join other Grange Hall users and friends to spiff up the Hall! Bring your favorite cleaning supplies–things like:
- Glass cleaner, squeegees, rags
- Vacuum cleaner(s)
- All-purpose cleaners
- Dust mops
- Wet mops
- Rubber/nitrile gloves
- Snacks and beverages
- Your favorite cleaning music!
We plan on working from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, with time off for lunch from about Noon to 1:00 PM. Come for the morning shift, the afternoon shift, or the whole shebang! If you can’t come and clean, but want to provide some lunch, that would be great also.
About the Martin Luther King Day of Service: in honor of MLK and his life of work for a better America, people across the country make this holiday a day ON, not just a day OFF, by volunteering in their communities. We are organizing this clean-up to make the Grange Hall even more welcoming and attractive. The Grange, an all-volunteer organization, owns and maintains this Hall to serve local community organizations, families and non-profit groups. We hope you’ll pitch in with us to make it even nicer. More info? Call Tim at: 802-225-8921.
VT Community Loan Fund: using the Grange investment and more to support Vermont businesses and communities
Jake gave a brief slide-show about the 30 year history of the VCLF, describing their flexible lending policies and diversity of their loans, and their desire to help build community institutions. They focus on providing loans that will foster jobs, affordable housing, quality health care, natural resources, working landscapes, downtown-located businesses and organizations, child care programs large and small, and much more.
Examples: among their borrowers is the Champlain Housing Trust, one of the largest in the US, which has developed 92 houses, and served 11,000 residents over many years. They also helped Fat Toad Farm, in Brookfield to develop their goat’s milk caramel production!
The Loan Fund has made 275 loans, totaling over $105 million since being formed in 1986, with about $30 million on average out on loan. A large part of the money which they loan out comes from philanthropic funds–but 45% comes from individuals, an unusually high proportion compared to similar loan funds across the U.S. A lot of Vermonters seem to agree with their philosophy that financial returns should be only one consideration for an investor–their focus is on the community return. Their goal is to do more than just provide interest income.
It’s important to note that the VCLF has never failed to repay an investor–a major consideration when our Grange decided to invest $5,000 in the VCLF, with a 10 year commitment. They assured us that if we suddenly needed the money, we can arrange to withdraw it early–for example, if the roof blew off. As we learned about the VCLF, we gained a lot of confidence that they share another Grange value–Grangers are “noted for Fidelity”. This includes making and keeping commitments, and handling finances openly and honestly. We decided the VCLF was a safe place to invest.
Once money is donated or invested in the Fund, it is loaned out to worthy borrowers. As loans are paid back to the Fund, the money is again loaned out to the next qualified organization or business, keeping Vermont money circulating and building Vermont communities.
In addition to making loans to borrowers, the VCLF operates a no-charge business resource center to help them operate more efficiently, and more effectively–which of course helps to keep the loan payments coming back.
Want to learn more? Their website: InvestinVermont.org has much more information about their history, their loans and the resources they can offer. We enjoyed meeting and speaking with Jake Ide, who also shared our potluck dinner!