Warm up the vocal chords and grab a canned good or two — it’s almost time for carols in the air and hope in the hearts across Sussex County.
Sussex County government is kicking off its yearly food drive for the community’s less fortunate and will celebrate the effort during the 31st annual Caroling on The Circle event, set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8, in downtown Georgetown. The food drive will extend throughout November and December.
Each year, the community singing event doubles as a food drive for hungry families in Sussex County, drawing hundreds of residents — along with the support of area schools, businesses and civic organizations — who turn out to sing Christmas carols and collect canned goods for area pantries, churches and food banks.
In 2013, the food drive collected nearly 28,000 items for nearly a dozen organizations. Sussex County organizers are hopeful to collect just as many items this year, and are encouraging the public to do their part now to “Pack the POD” — a 14-foot by 7-foot portable storage shed that will be set up at The Circle — with food items for local food pantries.
County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said Caroling on The Circle is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, but it’s important to remember the event’s true purpose.
“This is one of those uniquely Sussex County traditions, one that produces real results,” Lawson said, noting that the Caroling on The Circle event over the years has raised nearly 650,000 items for local food pantries. “Giving is the theme this time of year, and Sussex Countians have shown year after year how much giving they have in their hearts. It gives me a lot of pride to see how much this community comes through each year to make a difference, and we know this year will be no different. ”
As always, the historic Sussex County Courthouse and picturesque Circle will serve as the backdrop for an evening of traditional and Spanish carols, as well as a visit from Santa Claus. WBOC-TV personality Jimmy Hoppa will host the event, which will feature local singing artists Ed Shockley, Kevin Short and The Reminders. Also joining in the performances will be the Georgetown Middle and Sussex Central High choirs and the El Centro Cultural group.
Following the festivities, free cookies and hot chocolate will be available for all to enjoy at the Georgetown Fire Company, one block south of The Circle. The event is free to attend. Participants only have to bring non-perishable food items for donation.
Food items will be collected that night, but donations can be dropped off from now until the end of December, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the County Administrative Offices building, next to the courthouse, in Georgetown. Donations also can be made at the County Administrative Offices West Complex, U.S. 113, in Georgetown, and at the Sussex County Airport terminal building on Rudder Lane, just east of Georgetown.
Caroling on The Circle will be held regardless of weather. In the event of rain or snow, it will be moved inside the fire hall on South Bedford Street. For more information, call (302) 855-7700.