Epiphany celebration slated for Jan. 3

The Italian American Association of Monmouth County will host Pranzo with La Befana in celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany from 1-4 p.m. Jan. 3 at St. Mary’s Church, Madonna Hall, 1 Phalanx Road, Colts Neck.

The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 3-10.

The event will include a performance of the legend of La Befana, pasta and meatballs, baked goods and a goody bag for children, in addition to an auction table, 50/50, Italian music and games.

For more information, call 732-863- 0021 or visit www.iaaofmc.com.

Shrewsbury Chorale welcomes conductor

Do you like to sing? The Shrewsbury Chorale invites all interested local singers to participate in open rehearsals on January 5 and 12 from 7:45-10 p.m. The group practices weekly on Tuesday evenings at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, 1475 W. Front S., Lincroft. Scores will be provided and there is no charge.

The Shrewsbury Chorale is a mixed chorus serving audiences in Monmouth County. They perform three yearly concerts that feature music ranging from classical to popular repertoire. This set of open rehearsals is special because they will be welcoming a guest conductor, Neil F. Brown, who will take the podium as they prepare for their March concert. Brown has extensive experience in choral conducting and accompanying in both church and educational settings. As a good friend of the Chorale, he served as accompanist during the 2010-11 season.

The Shrewsbury Chorale auditions singers from September through June and is accepting new members. Former Chorale members are also encouraged to revisit. To schedule an audition, call Joy More at 732- 216-3907.

For more information, call: 732-747- 1362, email theshrewsburychorale@gmail.com, or visit www.shrewsburychorale.org.

Special needs Boy Scout troop accepting applicants

Boy Scout Troop 926 meets every Monday at St. Martha’s Church, Herbertsville Road, Point Pleasant, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

On Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m. the troop will be accepting applications for differently abled and boys with special needs who want to join Boy Scouts. It is an opportunity to make friends and have fun while learning life skills.

Boy Scouting, one of the traditional membership divisions of the BSA, is available to boys who are at least 10 years old or have completed the fifth grade and are at least 10, or who are 11 years old. The program achieves the BSA’s objectives of developing character, citizenship and personal fitness.

Special needs Scouts can take as long as they want to earn merit badges.

For more information, call 732-938-5830 or email bsatroop7926@gmail.com.

Band to bring in 2016

Joe Hughes and his band Goldenseal will be at Rooney’s Oceanfront Crab House, 100 Ocean Ave., Long Branch, from 9 p.m.- 1 a.m. on Dec. 31.

The band who also played at Rooney’s last New Year’s and will be playing there throughout the spring and summer, include Joe Hughes, lead singer and rhythm guitar; Pat Martucci, drums; Jesse Kessler, bass; John Bongiovanni, lead guitar; Lee Sanderson, sax; and Dennis Eschbach, trombone.

Goldenseal will also be playing at the Cabin, 984 Route 33, Freehold, on Dec. 26.

To contact Joe Hughes or Goldenseal, call 732-778-6678, email goldenseal2001@comcast.net or visit http://www.goldensealtheband.com.

Awards open to people with disabilities

VSA New Jersey (VSA/NJ), a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the creative power of people with disabilities, is accepting applications for the 2016 Arts Achievement Awards through Jan. 22.

The annual VSA/NJ Arts Achievement Awards include the Student Arts Excellence Awards, presented to students with special needs (mainstreamed, inclusion, self-contained classes or activities), 14 – 21 years old, not to exceed the 12th grade level, who show outstanding achievement in and commitment to an art form.

The Education in the Arts Awards are presented to outstanding educators and administrators for establishing high quality arts programs for students with special needs. The awards also recognize individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to arts education for students with special needs.

For applications, call 732-745-3885 or 732-745-3913 (TTY); or email info@vsanj.org.

Local families receive holiday meals

NEPTUNE — Children in the Kids Café program receive a hot meal each day during their after-school programs. However, when schools are closed, many families struggle.

The grocery chain, Wegmans, wanted to help those families.

So Wegmans teamed up with The Food- Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties to distribute a frozen turkey and bag of groceries to each child’s family.

“We are big supporters of the work being done at the local Boys and Girls Clubs. The way in which their teams engage children is rooted in enhancing the future of our community through foundational instruction. It is a mission that holds a place in our hearts; one that resonates with our people. As we looked at the needs for the holiday season, we thought of no better way than to work through the FoodBank to provide a turkey and holiday bag for the members of the Boys and Girls Clubs in Asbury Park and Red Bank, as well as wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season,” said John Zammetti, store manager of Ocean Wegmans, in a press release.

“There are 40,000 children in our serving area that are in food insecure households,” said FoodBank Executive Director Carlos Rodriguez in the press release. “For some of the children in the Kids Café program, it’s the only hot meal they receive all day and it truly makes a difference in their ability to thrive so they can focus on their school work. Kids cannot concentrate when their stomachs are empty. When the program is closed, some families have to go without or stretch their meals so everyone can eat. This donated meal allows them to enjoy the holiday with less stress over food.”

“I know for a fact that this extra meal is a great help to our families, so we are very grateful to Wegmans and The FoodBank for working together to make this happen,” said Stephanie D’Alessio, Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County’s director of education and programs. “This is what community is all about.”

Attic Treasures and Bake Sale slated

The Food Pantry and Community Clothes Closet of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation will serve as the host to an Attic Treasures and Bake Sale from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. on Dec. 5 and from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 6 at 992 Broadway, West Long Branch. All proceeds will go toward the building expansion fund for these ministries.

Items offered will include slightly used treasures to rummage through, and some new items too. There will be a table of fair trade items for sale and some independent sellers as well. In addition, there will be some new handmade craft items and baked goods.

A special section will be set up where “Kids CAN Shop.” Items at the Kids Shop will be specially priced by the can. Things will cost between one and five cans of food, which will help to stock our Food Pantry and will include vegetables, fruit, soup and any kind of beans. Please make sure it is not expired. Only kids will be permitted to shop in the “CAN” section.

Shop early for the best selections and to help support these ministries.

Craft and vendor fair set for Dec. 12

The Long Branch Athletic Department Green and White Association first annual Craft and Vendor Fair will be held from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 12 at Long Branch High School, 404 Indiana Ave., Long Branch.

The gift selection will include body and skin care products, children’s books, seashell ornaments, stone art, scarves and gloves, tie dye items, baked goods, snowman artwork, wine themed crafts, handbags, Long Branch Apparel, Tastefully Simple, Thirty-One, Swarovski Crystal Jewelry, sports photos and apparel, pillows and bedding, Cutco Cutlery, Nerium, hair and scarf accessories, sterling silver jewelry, Jersey tee shirts, custom tutus, holiday décor, handmade jewelry, gourmet dips, crochet items, animal treats, driftwood and sea glass décor, decorated solar lights, Arbonne, stone art, ladies apparel and handcrafted gift boxes.

Shore Players ushers in the holidays with A Christmas Carol

The Shore Regional High School family announced “A Christmas Carol,” the holiday classic for the whole family, will take center stage at Shore Regional High School (Shore Players) through Dec. 6. Performances are on Dec. 3, 4, 5 and 6; Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. A special preview performance for senior citizens will be offered on Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. All tickets after Dec. 2 are $15. Buy tickets online at https://sp.booktix.com. For ticket information, email shoreplayerstix@shoreregional.org.

The Shore Players adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic stays true to the heart of this timeless story of redemption, while bringing a playful sensibility to his rich language. The Shore Players cast includes Nick Troncoso as Ebenezer Scrooge, Luke Sweeney as Bob Cratchit, Beth Bertekap as Mrs. Cratchit, Jared Cohen as Jacob Marley, Felicia Aschettino as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Jack Sweeney as “Tiny” Tim Cratchit. Rounding out the cast are Nicole Cebulko, Christine Mitchell, Olivia Rescigno, Hope Allem, Danielle Bristol, Taylor Sniffen, Zach Arlt, Rachel Primavera, Abby Arlt, Grace Sweeney, Hailey Katzenberger, Isabella Whitaker, TJ Macaluso, Alex Patton, Michael O’Halloran, Jack Cambell, Jack Hester, Marisa Hembling and Taylor Hendricks.

For Information on Shore Regional High School and Shore Players, please visit www.shoreregional.org or email shoreplayers@shoreregional.org.