(NECN: Jack Thurston, Burlington, Vt.) - In Vermont, many residents woke up Thursday to temperatures at zero or in the single digits. Those temps struggled to rise into the teens throughout the day.
On Burlington's Church Street Marketplace, some diners were actually braving that chill and eating outside for an annual fundraiser called The Coolest Lunch. Donations go to Vermont's busiest provider of services to the homeless: the Committee on Temporary Shelter or COTS.
"I think coming out like this makes us really mindful of the fact that people do suffer in the cold weather," said COTS donor Jackie Vezina. "You've got to have shelter and thank God we have some place like COTS, where these folks can go on the really, really cold evenings."
In South Burlington, Christmas tree seller Louise Roy was glad for her electric heater and tiny hut. "It's cozy," she chuckled.
They gave Roy a place to thaw out during her long day of selling wreaths and other decorations by the side of Williston Road. Lots of layers helped, too, she told New England Cable News. "If you're dressed for it, it's perfect," Roy beamed. "The sun is shining; what a beautiful day!"
One guy who certainly knows a lot about being outside in cold air, Santa Claus himself, dropped in on Vermonters Thursday aboard a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter. The Jolly Old Elf paid a visit to kids at the state's largest hospital, Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. "It's colder on the North Pole but it sure seems colder here, doesn't it?" Santa told NECN.
Santa seemed to quickly warm up the hospital with big hugs. That warmth will be needed, as Vermont is expecting more chilly temperatures in the days ahead, ranging from the single digits to the upper teens.