BRATTLEBORO -- Saturday, Dec. 21, is not only the darkest day of the year, but is also the National Day of the Homeless. In Brattleboro, the Interfaith Clergy Association, along with staff of the Morningside Shelter for the Homeless and the Brattleboro Area Drop-In Center will gather with members of the community for the Annual Candlelight Vigil for the Homeless at 4 p.m. at Pliny Park. At that time names of those who have passed away on the streets of Vermont in 2013 will be read and candles lit for a procession to the shelter and the First Baptist Church.

Everyone is welcome at 4 p.m. and those willing or able to sing are invited to rehearse at the Centre Church at 3 p.m. under the direction of Michael Mario.

An average of 20 people are without shelter in Brattleboro each night and a total of 40 different people, men women and children, have slept in the Overflow Shelter for the Homeless since it opened in November. This number is the overflow from Morningside Shelter which is also full and has a waiting list. The Overflow Shelter is hosted by the First Baptist Church on Main Street and staffed by the Drop-In Center staff, in concert with community members from spiritual groups, religious communities, local businesses and neighbors who band together to prepare meals and staff the shelter at night. Those willing to help with meals can email Emilie Kornheiser at overflowshelterdinners@gmail.com to help with meals or Lucie Fortier at overflow.bratt@gmail.com.

Bedding, pillows and sleeping bags along with warm jackets, gloves, hats, socks and boots are always needed and can be dropped off at any of four churches: Putney Friends Meeting House in Putney, Guilford Community Church in Algiers Center, Centre Congregational Church and St. Michael's Episcopal Church or at the Drop In Center at 60 South Main St. This is an amazing community collaboration to keep everyone warm and dry and your presence at the vigil or any other cash donation or donation of help is welcome.