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DSS seeking donations of unwrapped toys
for annual Toys for Tots program


Orange County Department of Social Services (DSS) is rolling out the Marine Toys for Tots program for this holiday season, in partnership with the Orange County Toy Chest Program. The program collects and distributes new, unwrapped toys to vulnerable children in the community.

Currently, DSS would like for more community members to be involved. From now until December 20, DSS will be accepting new, unwrapped toys. If a business would like to act as a toy collection site and receive a collection box, please complete the inquiry form or contact Rajkumari Sukhnandan at (919) 245-2082.

An individual or business can also submit a one-time or reoccurring donation. All cash, check, or debit/credit card donations will be spent purchasing toys.

About the Holiday Program
The mission of the program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during the months preceding Christmas and distribute them to clients as Christmas gifts. DSS, in collaboration with community partners, distributed more than 5,000 toys to approximately 2,400 children last year. All children who are not sponsored by another holiday program, reside in Orange County, and receive DSS services may be eligible to receive brand new toys.

To learn more about the holiday program and different ways you can help, please visit the holiday program web-page.
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Unexpected repairs force closure of Link Building on Nov. 22


The John M. Link, Jr., Government Center will close to the public at the close of business on Friday, Nov. 22, due to unexpected repairs. Several Orange County departments will relocate to other county facilities or temporary office space while the building is addressed. Effective, Monday, Nov. 25, please note the following changes:
  • Orange County Manager’s office and the Board of County Commissioners staff will relocate to the Whitted Building (300 W. Tryon Street, Hillsborough). Staff from the manager’s office will be in room 250, while staff from the Clerk to the Board will be in room 220.
  • Financial/Administrative Services, the Orange County Arts Commission and the Community Relations Department will relocate to 405 Meadowlands Drive, Hillsborough.
  • The Office of the Public Defender has moved to 115 East King Street, Hillsborough.
The Orange County Attorney’s Office and the Human Rights and Relations Department will remain at 105 W. Corbin Street, Suite 103 (Hillsborough). The Human Resources Department will remain in the West Campus Office Building at 131 W. Margaret Lane (Hillsborough).

All staff phone numbers and email addresses will remain the same during the relocation period.
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Orange County Arts Commission announces recipients of Arts Educator grants 


The Orange County Arts Commission has selected 14 arts educators as recipients of its newly established Arts Educator Professional Development Grant Program. The educators listed below will receive grants to aid in their professional development as arts educators.

  • Nikki Balderas teaches Photography, Sculpture and AP Studio Art to grades 9-12 at Eno River Academy.
  • John Benton teaches Chorus and Orchestra to grades 6-8 at McDougle Middle School.
  • Sarah Brown teaches Art to grades pre-K – 5 at Efland Cheeks Global Elementary School.
  • Adam Canosa teaches General Music to grades pre-K – 5 at Hillsborough Elementary School.
  • Laura Casey teaches Art to grades pre-K – 5 at Cameron Park Elementary School.
  • Amelia Coleman teaches General Music to grades pre-K – 5 at Glenwood Elementary School.
  • Elizabeth Ann Daaleman teaches Orchestra to grades 6-8 at Guy B. Phillips Middle School.
  • Ryan E. Ellefsen teaches Band and Orchestra to grades 9-12 at East Chapel Hill High School.
  • Corrie Franklin teaches Orchestra to grades 6-12 at Culbreth Middle School and Chapel Hill High School.
  • Alexis Kagel teaches Music to grades pre-K – 5 at Central Elementary School.
  • Meagan Kimbrough teaches Visual Art and Sculpture to grades 9-12 at Eno River Academy.
  • Matt Nedimyer is the Band Director for grades 6-8 at Culbreth Middle School.
  • Valerie Puhala teaches Chorus to grades 9-12 at Carrboro High School.
  • Wayne Wilson teaches General Music to grades pre-K – 5 at Pathways Elementary School.

The arts educator grant program will reopen July 1, 2020.

Slide for library Food/Toys for Fines event
If you owe fines to Orange County Public Libraries, you can pay down your fines by donating unopened cans or boxes of food (pet or human) or an unwrapped toy to the library's annual Food and Toys for Fines program. The program runs through Dec. 13 at all library locations. One new, unwrapped toy in its original packaging will take off all overdue fines on a single account. One can or box of non-perishable food eliminates $1 of fines. (Pet food is also eligible!) Neither can go toward replacement items, or service fees (such as billed items, processing fees, replacement card fees, or printing/faxes).

Upcoming events at the Orange County Senior Centers


Evening of Classical Music and a Holiday Concert


Back by Popular Demand! Simon Ertz and Nonoko Okada will present a short concert featuring their violin and viola students on Monday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill (2551 Homestead Rd., Chapel Hill).


These students have worked hard all year and are always excited to perform for a new audience! Music will include a classical selection as well as some holiday favorites. Come along this season for a wonderful musical journey.

The performance is free, but pre-registration is required. Please register by Nov. 25 by calling 919-968-2070.

Understanding Senior Housing Options

Many housing options are available for seniors, but do you know where to start?  Have you ever wondered about the differences between a Continuing Care Community and an Independent Living rental community? What about Assisted Living and Skilled Care?

Join the Orange County Department on Aging for a special session on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. at the Passmore Center in Hillsborough (103 Meadowlands Dr., Hillsborough). The class is free, but seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Please register by Dec. 2 by calling 919-245-2015. 

If you have questions about senior living communities, the differences and your options, this seminar will help you. We will also go over tips for downsizing and helpful tools for getting your house on the market. The session will be led by Michelle Lytle-Westrom, MHA Senior Housing Consultant, and Armand Lenchek, Realtor.

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