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Cache Valley volunteers work to bring Nativity scene to life

By Katherine Taylor 

For the many volunteers involved in preparing for this year’s Nativity scene at Morgan Farm, weeks of work began paying off on Friday at 5:30 p.m. when the event opened to the public.

Richard Eversull, who has helped to organize the event since its first year in 2006, is one of the volunteers who worked to prepare Morgan Farm for the event.

“There are a lot of good people putting a lot of work into it to make it something special,” Eversull said.

Several high school students from Nibley City Youth Council and members of the Nibley community are donating their time to the event; some dress up and take part in the Nativity scene.

Eighteen actors are needed most nights, with many places left to be filled, said Trudy Knight, an adviser for the youth council. Usually a choir performs, but Knight has been unable to find one this year, so music will be played over speakers. Knight would be grateful for any choir willing to perform.

“A big choir or a small choir, we’d be glad to have one,” Knight said.

Donations of money or canned goods are welcome, but not required.

The donated canned goods are given to a local food bank; according to Eversull, people attending the Nativity scene donated 4,500 pounds of canned goods last year.

“We don’t turn anybody away,” Eversull said. “We have a suggested donation, but everybody’s welcome.”

Any funds raised will be donated to Options for Independence, a nonprofit which provides services to those with disabilities.

“We’d like to make a nice donation to Options for all the good work they do,” Eversull said. “If we ever get to where we’re getting more money than it costs.”

This year, the suggested donation is lower than last year’s by 20 percent. For Eversull, it was never about the money; it’s about what the live Nativity could give back to the community.

“Each year it seems to me that we have at least a few people who have problems or tragedy,” Eversull said.

Recounting the story of a young boy who came to the nativity scene last year, Eversull said that the boy, whose parents had recently died in a car accident, came with his grandmother to the event. When the time came to give the canned goods he brought to the volunteers, the little boy didn’t want to — he wanted to hand them, himself, to the baby.

“He was awestruck by the manger and the baby,” Eversull said. “Not a real baby — it gets too cold out there — but to them it’s all real. It helped him in the healing process. It seems like we have someone like that every year.”

That’s why, for Eversull, the work is always worth it. According to Knight, despite the difficulties, she and the teenage volunteers are also glad to give.

“Even if it’s freezing, ice-cold, they’ll come and take tickets or serve hot chocolate,” Knight said. “They really enjoy being there.”

“We want to give people an opportunity to come to something that would remind them of the true meaning of Christmas,” Eversull said. “It doesn’t look like much by day, but when you get the actors there and the animals there, it’s just magical. It comes to life. You feel like you’re right there in the stable with him.”

The Nativity scene will continue from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Monday. This year’s suggested donation is $10 per family and $2 per person, with an alternative donation of two cans of food per person. Those interested in volunteering as actors or a choir can contact Knight at 435-232-6120.