MSAC and Community Services Updates

Current COVID guidelines affecting MSAC operations 

To subscribe to MSAC’s weekly e-letter and receive regular updates, events and resources, email msac@montpelier-vt.org. To read the most recent and past issues, click here

To read the City’s weekly reports and resources, find the link here.

We're hiring a Kitchen Manager/Chef! 

.Click here for this and other jobs posted with the City at this time.  

Enchanted Forest 2021 Tickets are Selling Fast, and a few more artists are still needed!

It's our 25th Anniversary of this amazing annual event at Hubbard Park, and you and your friends/family of all ages won't want to miss it! Click here to learn more, get the link for purchasing tickets, and finding out our volunteer needs (guides/set-up/clean-up/pumpkin-carving) as well as our call to artists!

Time Change for Hubbard Parks Expansion Project Events - Learn more about our campaign to add nearly 80 acres!

We've got two events scheduled (now on October 20 and 21) when you can learn more about our "Expand Hubbard Park" Project that will add nearly 80 acres to our city's treasure! Click here for all the details, event dates/times and links to donate in support!

Volunteers Needed at FEAST Farm and with other Parks Projects

Farm kidsEven though fall is underway, veggies are still growing at Feast Farm and other Parks work remains to be done, including pumpkin carving for Enchanted Forest! Please check out our volunteer work days. We will be working on occasional final harvesting of produce for the FEAST Senior Meals Program, the Montpelier Food Pantry, as well as the Montpelier-Roxbury School "Backpack Program." WBeans, potatos, eggplant, peppers, at Farm 9-10-21 by Sarah Liptone'll also be preparing for winter by planting cover crops. We have tasks for folks of all ages and abilities! Please sign up for a time slot HERE. No need to stay for the whole time, but it's helpful for us to know how many people will be joining. Directions to the farm are on the spreadsheet. Feel free to email Jacqueline at jhuettenmoser@montpelier-vt.org with questions.

MSAC's OctThumbprint for October 2021 MSAC Newsletter v.5_Page_01 Opens in new windowober 2021 Active Times is hot off the press!
Click on the image at left or here to read the full 12 pages of great contents, including a Director's Dispatch from Sarah Lipton, a profile on volunteer Noah Sexton, a Q&A with Americorps member Maddie Sholar, lots of updates about FEAST Senior Meals Program and the FEAST Farm, many events coming this month and next, updates on Fall classes and more announcements and resources from MSAC, Parks & Rec, and our community partners. Please note that the table of contents has moved to page 2! 

Fall Classes: Sign up now!

We’ve got online, in-person and hybrid options in the Arts, Humanities, so many forms of movement, and ten options of yoga.  Visit our website at https://www.montpelier-vt.org/751/Classes, stop by MSAC or call us to learn more or get help to register!  

Winter Program Proposal Deadline

If you’d like to propose a Winter class series, workshop or other event, please request a proposal form and submit it (msac@montpelier-vt.org) by October 13.   

MSAC Advisory Council has vacancies; committees welcome new members at large to join

The Advisory Council and its subcommittees welcome new members to get involved. There are currently two vacancies on the Council and many subcommittees. The next meeting of the Council is Tuesday, October 12. To learn more, visit https://www.montpelier-vt.org/369/MSAC-Advisory-Council. 

Town Funding 

We will soon be underway with our efforts to seek Town Funding from our six supporting towns of Berlin, Calais, E. Montpelier, Middlesex, Moretown and Worcester. If you’d like to help with these efforts, please contact Janna at 262-6274 or jclar@montpelier-vt.org. To learn more, visit https://www.montpelier-vt.org/1142/MSAC-and-surrounding-communities

Thank you, Good Taste Catering 

We are grateful for our FEAST Seniors Meals Program partnership with Good Taste Catering that began way back in 2013 and continues until the end of our final contract on September 30, 2021.  Justin, Mike, other staff and volunteers they supervised produced over 100,000 nutritious meals for local seniors, took great care of our kitchen facility, trained countless people in food service, and brought smiles to many!

As both MSAC/FEAST and Good Taste Catering evolve in 2021, we wish Good Taste all the best with their new ventures at VT College of Fine Arts kitchen and in   helping address food security in the years to come!

Older Announcements

Transition in our Americorps member: Welcome, Maddie Sholar!  

Please join us in welcoming Madeline ("Maddie") Sholar as the next VHCB Americorps, Aging in Place Coordinator for MSAC! Maddie started her year of service on September 8, and Andrew Gribbin, last year's member, generously volunteered several extra weeks of time beyond his call of duty to support MSAC before Maddie's start and also helped with her early orientation to MSAC on Monday, September 13. The team is thrilled to welcome her on board, she's already hit the ground running, and we’ll share more about Maddie in the October Active Times

Andrew Gribbin: Reflections on a year of service to MSAC

Andrew July 2021 photoJanna recently sat down to chat with Andrew in advance of his end of service. Readers may be surprised to learn that our recent Aging in Place Americorps member is originally from Montpelier and graduated from MHS over a decade ago. He studied anthropology in college and spent time in South Africa, deeply inspired by Nelson Mandela’s persistence in demanding justice and equality – “a beacon of human goodness.” Andrew’s inspiration to apply for Americorps in August 2020 was his desire to give back to the community in which he was raised and to interact with the older adult population with whom he’d previously had limited experience.

Andrew fondly remembers his direct interactions with members--how engaging, appreciative and kind they’ve been. On one occasion after performing a home-based chore to  assist a member, he was unexpectedly gifted with delicious “good boy brownies!” Andrew found it fulfilling to be able to build relationships with some MSAC members over the course of the year, and he hopes they understand that he got as much out of the interactions as he gave! 

We are so grateful for Andrew’s service and his camaraderie!  Please join us in wishing him all the best as he starts his next adventure working to support Aging in Place!  To read the full profile of Andrew in our September newsletter, click here and look for page 6. 

Trash Tramps: Strength in Numbers & Spiffy in Vests!

Trash Tramps returning to MSAC 9-14-21 NS or AF pictureAnne Ferguson reports: "Here is part of our group… 9 out of 14…. after our return on Tuesday, September 14, displaying some of our collection from the hour we were out and about. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful Tramps caring for our city and planet." As the Tramps lined up prior to heading out that day, MSAC staff admired what some were wearing: beautiful new safety vests purchased with a Trash Tramps supplies grant from Central VT Solid Waste Management District. Thank you, CVSWMD and Trash Tramps!    Trash Tramps go out together each Tuesday,  2pm, and meet in MSAC Courtyard at 58 Barre St. around 1:45pm. (Email saddleshoes2@gmail.com to get on the notification list that goes out Monday nights.) 

Volunteer with MSAC at Home!

MSAC needs your help to continue providing valuable services to those in our community! MSAC at Home continues to offer indoor tasks assistance (such as changing lightbulbs and smoke alarm batteries, installing and removing AC units), outdoor chore assistance (such as light garden and yard work, wood stacking, raking), and basic technology assistance to those who need it. Being able to maintain and eventually expand these offerings depends on the buy-in of community members, including MSAC members, who can provide these needed services to older adults in our area. As an MSAC at Home volunteer, you determine how much or little you can help and with what elements of the program. More information can be found on our website, https://www.montpelier-vt.org/msac-at-home, or by contacting MSAC’s new Aging in Place Coordinator, Maddie Sholar, at msac-americorps@montpelier-vt.org or 802-262-6287.  

MSAC at Home’s Tech Device Lending Library is in the works!

We’ve ordered twenty devices that are expected to   arrive in about a month, and we are lining up a training partnership with Technology for Tomorrow.  Central VT Council on Aging is a key partner in this initiative, and both they and we are going through staff transitions that have affected the timeline of this exciting new   offering.  We anticipate being able to offer devices,  internet and training to  members starting in late Fall or early Winter.  Stay tuned for more details! 

Indoor and Outdoor Space Rentals available with Senior Center, FEAST Kitchen, Parks and Recreation

Trying to resume pandemic-paused group meet-up or schedule a one-time special event or meeting? We have affordable indoor and outdoor spaces in many shapes and locations, some with audio-visual available. We also rent out our fully licensed commercial kitchen when not in use for FEAST senior meals production.  To learn more or request space at Community Services Department facilities, visit https://www.montpelier-vt.org/337/Facility-Rentals or call 225-8699. Masking required indoors in all city facilities by all people at this time, regardless of vaccine status.   

Tae Kwon Do Classes for Youth & Adults!

Beginners who want to learn the art of Tae Kwon Do are welcome and encouraged to join these instructional classes offered twice a week for ten weeks with instructor Matthew Girouard. Classes are Mondays & Thursdays, 9/9-12/20 (skip 10/11, 11/25), 5:30-6:30pm at Montpelier Recreation Gym, 55 Barre Street. Fee: $84 for residents, $126 for non-residents. Sign up by visiting the Montpelier Recreation website or calling 225-8699.  Online registration: Event code 2526A. 

MSAC’s office hours and customer service options

We are once again open for in-person customer service in the office, Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm most days with varying brief lunch closures.  Most Tuesdays we’ll close early at 3:00pm.  If you need to make arrangements for earlier customer service, Norma is often there earlier than 9am, so contact her to inquire: nmaurice@montpelier-vt.org. Call if you need help or have questions for Harry or Norma at 223-2518. 

FEAST Farm Tour Report in June: A Resounding Success!

Click here for full report

Older Announcements

MSAC to Hire Kitchen Manager / Chef for FEAST Senior Meals Program

We are excited to announce some changes coming to the FEAST program! After eight years of partnership with local business Good Taste Catering and nine months of off-site meal production that involved the City paying the outside vendor for food and labor necessary to produce Montpelier’s Meals on Wheels, Curbside pickup and congregate meals, MSAC intends to hire a Kitchen Manager/Chef (30 hours per week) to start in late September and be prepared for the return of meal production at MSAC’s commercial kitchen at 58 Barre Street October 1. This change is anticipated to bring cost-savings over recent increases, expanded collaboration and social justice benefits, and many other advantages for the community.  To learn more, please refer to a summary memo, full proposal backing the plan, and job description for the new position being created. 

Sarah Lipton, FEAST Program Manager since August 2020 and new Director of MSAC effective August 31, 2021, led the re-design effort and wrote the proposal. This re-design of the City’s FEAST Senior Meals Program has been reviewed by and has the support of the City Manager, the Assistant City Manager, the Finance Director, the outgoing MSAC Director, and the MSAC Advisory Council.  We are excited to implement this next phase of an essential nutrition and socialization service for our city’s older adults. Questions may be directed to Sarah Lipton at slipton@montpelier-vt.org or by calling 262-6288.

Mask mandate update and updated COVID policy

All people entering MSAC and other City facilities must be masked now, regardless of vaccination status. To read our updated policy and how to know when it may change again, click here. 

Recruitment for Savoy DVD volunteers

We’d love to recruit a few more people to get trained in facilitating DVD borrowing from the Savoy DVD Archive collection at MSAC. To learn more, stop by during Joyce’s shift on a Tuesday or Friday, 11am-1pm, or ask staff to put you in touch. 

Wi-fi is back at MSAC!

We have new, improved, more reliable Wi-fi in our facility at MSAC, and it works upstairs in our classrooms, too! When you visit our facility, look for notices hanging on bulletin boards, etc. to find the new network name and password. Ask staff if you need assistance finding it or logging in the first time!

Additional Foot Care Clinics scheduled at MSAC

These clinics occur on select Mondays and Thursdays at 58 Barre Street and require advance registration. We are grateful to partner Central VT Home Health & Hospice for staffing these high-demand services. To learn more and sign up, contact Harry or Norma at the MSAC office at 223-2518. 

New MSAC Director Announced!

Sarah image for e-letterAfter receiving eight qualified applications, the hiring committee had narrowed down the selection and interviewed two finalists. Both finalists went through panel interviews with the MSAC Advisory Council and the City’s Leadership Team. We are happy to announce that last week, the job was offered to and accepted by Sarah Lipton, who is currently our FEAST Program Manager. Sarah will be transitioning into her new role within the coming weeks, and we will share more information later this month. Please join us in congratulating Sarah! (Photo credit: Homer Horowitz)

Trip Report by Tina Muncy, Volunteer Trip Leader, and MSAC Staff, 8/12/21

Click here to read an update about our leased van, why we’re doing fewer trips this year and how we’re responding to this month’s COVID developments in VT. 

MSAC at Home: First Year Recap 

Over this past year, a gradual but steady roll-out of new services has been underway at Montpelier Senior Activity Center, part of a program we are calling “MSAC at Home.” Based on the national “Village Model,” this program aims to provide services that empower older adults to successfully age in place. Beginning with outdoor, home-based seasonal chores in the fall, adding check-in Wellness Calls and technology support in the winter, expanding to indoor task assistance in the spring, and adding home evaluations to address falls risk in the summer, these offerings represent the start of what we hope are valuable new offerings to the community. As the AmeriCorps term for Aging in Place Coordinator Andrew Gribbin comes to a close next week, let’s recap what the start of this exciting new program has accomplished. To date, 30 separate request for home-based assistance (both indoor and outdoor) have been responded to, resulting in 40 total tasks being completed. Over 60 separate technology requests have been responded to, and twice monthly Zoom trainings have been offered since December. A quarter of MSAC’s 2020 membership has been contacted for check-in Wellness Calls, resulting in over 50 follow-up actions being taken and over a dozen referrals to more regular contact through the Central Vermont Council on Aging’s Friendly Caller program. All services have been offered by donation to MSAC, ensuring access to all regardless of ability to pay. While much has been done, there is much more to do, and we hope this inaugural year represents the first chapter of many for MSAC at Home. To learn more about MSAC at Home or to become involved in this program, please visit our website at https://www.montpelier-vt.org/msac-at-home or contact msac-americorps@montpelier-vt.org or 262-6287 (both of which will be monitored during the transition to our new AmeriCorps member, though we appreciate your understanding of any temporary slowdown in responsiveness). 

Volunteer With the Green Mountain Transit Community Rides Program – a Testimonial from AmeriCorps member Andrew Gribbin

Part of my AmeriCorps service involves completing an Independent Service Project (ISP) by volunteering with another organization. After hearing about the Green Mountain Transit (GMT) Community Rides Program, I felt confident the program would align nicely with my service at MSAC of promoting independence and resources for older adults while also helping to fill a vital need in central Vermont. That’s because the GMT Community Rides Program provides transportation to individuals who do not have access to public transportation or a vehicle, many of whom are older adults or individuals with disabilities. In my time with the program, I have given a number of rides to the hospital, rides to addiction prevention treatment, and rides to physical therapy and post-operative surgery appointments at doctor offices. We all know how critical transportation is to retaining our independence, and the GMT Community Rides Program plays an essential role in maintaining this independence for many in our community. As the volunteer, I determine how much time I can give in a given week, and the GMT staff work with me to make the experience one that works for everyone involved. If you have even a few hours to spare a month, consider signing up to volunteer with this program. As an added bonus, GMT will reimburses you for your mileage. To learn more about this important program, visit https://ridegmt.com/become-a-volunteer-driver/ or contact Donna Gallagher at 802-262-6182 or dgallagher@ridegmt.com. You – and many in our community – will be glad you did!

Got grandkids or know some area kids? Capital Kids Afterschool Childcare Program Registration is underway – service starts August 26!

Rec ad Afterschool childcare  Opens in new window

 To learn more about our affordable, state-licensed program with subsidies and available 2:30-5:30pm throughout the school year, visit https://www.montpelier-vt.org/1186/After-School-Childcare, call the office at 802-225-8699  or email nmaurice@montpelier-vt.org with questions. 




Elders Together Report by Mary Alice Bisbee (next meeting: Monday, 9/20)

Older Elders gathered on Tuesday, July 13th from 1:00-2:30 PM at MSAC to share thoughts and ideas and to learn some ways for our aging brains to catch up on technological advances that, seemingly, have left some of us behind!  Seven of us were honored to hear from Luke Rackers, Technology Specialist at the Central VT Council on Aging (CVCOA).  He answered many of the questions we brought to him and told of CVCOA’s plans to find community volunteers that can work one on one with elders with specific needs.  He will get back to us individually. 

We also learned about our MSAC Americorps volunteer, Andrew Gribbin’s presentations on how to use ZOOM and new collaborations with a free program for elders, called Technology for Tomorrow that is taught on ZOOM.  (I attended a class on Introduction to Search Engines and plan to attend another one on July 28th called Basic Introduction to Digital Media Literacy.)  More information on these classes is available on page 7 of the MSAC newsletter for July, Active Times if you care to join.

Our group is open to all older elders who like to socialize, drop in from time to time, discuss issues of concern to our oldest generation and learn ways to help each other.  All Central Vermont elders are invited.  You do not need to be a member of MSAC to attend and it is FREE! For more information contact Mary Alice Bisbee at 223-8140.

Advisory Council Recognitions and Welcomes

Thank you to outgoing Advisory Council (AC) members--Bob Barrett, Mary Alice Bisbee and Bill Doelger–all recognized for their unique contributions at the Annual Meeting on June 22. Welcome to newly elected AC members Mariah Lane, Jean Olson and Rick Winston, who started their two-year terms on June 22. Welcome back to Dianne Maccario and Laura Morse, both of whom were elected for a second term. Finally, on June 22, the AC also recognized two volunteers who really went “Above and Beyond” this past year with MSAC service: Mary Carlson and Laura Morse. 

FEAST Farm Journal 

Submitted by Leila Faulstich-Hon | ECO Americorps | Trees and Watersheds Steward
City of Montpelier Parks and Trees Department 

Today, I stand at the edge of the farm and look out, wide-eyed. So much has changed in a couple of weeks. Our new farm manager Dave arrived, and now the farm is in full swing. Today, the sun is spilling across the land. The baby leaves on the cottonwood trees spurt like green foam from twig tips and a gaggle of Canada Geese squawk across the sky. All week we have been busy preparing beds. FEAST Farm is a no-till farm. This means that we try to disturb the structure of the soil as little as possible. No-till farms require a lot of weeding in the beginning to establish a good place for crops to grow. Luckily, we’ve had a lot of volunteers to help us-- kneeing, sitting, squatting, up to their elbows in dirt, high schoolers and National Life Volunteers wrestle with the roots of sod and dandelion. Last week, they also helped us plant 450 riparian trees by the water! When grown, these trees will create a riparian buffer, which helps improve water quality and provides habitat for a lot of species. In other growing news, the tomato plants are becoming robust in the greenhouse. Last-year’s garlic’s soft green shoots sway like antennas in the wind. It’s exciting and overwhelming. I feel like chanting: All are welcome at FEAST Farm! The growing season has begun!

MSAC Thanks Web Industries for support of Remembering Our Veterans Event May 28!

Huge thanks to local business, Web Industries (formerly known as Cadcut), for their sponsorship of our annual event in advance of Memorial Day, back from a 2020 pandemic pause!  Not only did Web Industries give MSAC a grant to generously cover all expenses for the luncheon for eighty Veterans, their families, and other older adults who attended, they also provided five employees to serve the luncheon curbside from our facility! 

Musicians at ROV 5-28-21In addition to the delicious BBQ meal, attendees enjoyed fanfare of flags and gratitude, plus not one but TWO live bands as they drove around the senior center to pick up their curbside meals.  Out front on Barre Street, the MSAC “Swingin’ Over Sixty” band played in the courtyard. On the side near meal pick-up, guests enjoyed traditional music on banjo, guitar and fiddle, played by local musicians Kathleen Moore, Chris Hollis and Alec Ellsworth, pictured in photo here (missing: Jenny Monfore).  If Alec’s name is familiar, it’s because he’s also our Parks & Trees Director and City of Montpelier co-worker of MSAC staff! Finally, huge thanks to FEAST Manager Sarah Lipton, Americorps member Andrew Gribbin, volunteer Carole Baker, and countless others who pulled together this special event.

We are Grateful to VT Community Foundation, Hoehl Family Foundation, National Life Group Charitable Foundation & Central Vermont Council on Aging!

All of the above organizations recently awarded MSAC generous grants to support either MSAC’s general operating expenses or our FEAST Senior Nutrition Program. Thank you, community!  We are also grateful to individual donors and small businesses!

  • $5,000 from the VT COVID-19 Response Fund of the VT Community Foundation (FEAST)
  • $5,000 from COVID-19 Relief Funds from Central Vermont Council on Aging (FEAST)
  • $15,000 from National Life Group Charitable Foundation (GOE)
  • $60,000 from Hoehl Family Foundation, paid in $20,000 installments annually for three years (GOE)

Reminder image for Mailchimp

Membership Renewal: It’s time to renew your membership for the July 1 year start, especially if you want the best rate on Summer class registration that starts next Monday, June 14 (classes begin week of July 5). See benefits summary online here. Your form should have arrived in the mail; let us know if it didn't or if you need a new one!

Volunteer with Montpelier Parks!

Do you have a hankering to get outside and do something positive to help the community? We have a volunteer project for you! We usually host at least 1 community volunteer day every week to do something different around our parks. It might be trail work, planting trees, pulling invasive plants, working at the FEAST Farm, or something else, but you'll get to do meaningful work with our great crew and other volunteers. To sign up for our listserv email JHuettenmoser@Montpelier-vt.org.

Farewell and Thank you to Becca Jordan!
IMG_19531Becca Jordan, Communications & Development Coordinator for Community Services (Senior Center, Parks, and Recreation) has left city employment just shy of her third anniversary with us. She will soon start an exciting new job at The Center for an Agricultural Economy, based in Hardwick-- a position related to her current one and in a field closely aligned to her educational background and passions. Becca’s three years of excellent service to Community Services included weathering a pandemic and strengthening MSAC’s outreach and fundraising strategies, among many other contributions she made to the City. In her wake, Becca is leaving some significant recent grant awards for both MSAC and Parks, and she wrote a large grant application for Recreation in her final days! Thanks, Becca; we wish you all the best! Readers, stay tuned for news of our plans to fill this vacancy as soon as is reasonably possible!

Anonymous gift to fund MSAC technology upgrades and device-lending library
We are thrilled to announce that due to the tremendous generosity of an anonymous donor this spring, we are in the process of planning significant technology upgrades to improve the experience, access, and equity of senior center services. Though details are still being worked out, the two main areas the donor’s funding will support are (1) establishing a lending library of technology devices (and training) for members and (2) purchasing, upgrading and installing audio-visual and related equipment in MSAC classrooms to enhance both on-site and remote programs. We look forward to sharing updates as we make progress!