Georgetown's Caroling on the Circle set for Monday evening

The 28th annual Caroling on the Circle event is set for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5, in downtown Georgetown. The kickoff to the event this year started earlier than in year’s past, with a call for canned goods starting more than five weeks ago, since the event doubles as a food drive for Sussex County’s hungry and food-insecure.

County officials said the event draws 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 food pantries, churches and food banks.

Last year, they collected more than 20,000 items for nine organizations, and they hope to collect even more this year.

County Administrator-Appointee Todd F. Lawson said Caroling on the Circle does more than get people ready for the season of Christmas. It also addresses a need that seems to be growing each year.

“The need in our community is probably the greatest it has been than at any other time in recent memory, so that makes Caroling on the Circle that much more important this season,” Lawson said.

County officials stated that the Food Bank of Delaware’s Hunger in America Study of 2010 found that 241,600 Delawareans received assistance at some point, through that program alone. Just four years prior, the number had been approximately 90,000 – marking a nearly 60 percent increase from 2006 to 2010.

In Sussex County, the Food Bank estimates that, in 2010, 12.1 percent of the population, or 22,430 people, were “food insecure,” meaning they had a limited supply or uncertain availability of nutritional and adequate food, said Kim Kostes, community relations manager.

“The holidays can be a stressful time for all of us. But for families without enough food, there’s no greater worry than wondering where the next meal is coming from,” said County Council President Michael H. Vincent. “We want to do our part with Caroling on the Circle and the food drive to help make the season a little brighter for those less fortunate.”

Attendees will be treated to traditional and Spanish Christmas carols, and, of course, Santa Claus will be there. Local singing artists Ed Shockley, Kevin Short and The Reminders will lead the event and will be joined by Georgetown Middle School Choir and El Centro Cultural.

Free cookies and hot chocolate will be available at the Georgetown Fire Company, one block south of The Circle, after the event. Participants are only asked to bring non-perishable food items for a donation.

Additional food items will be collected that night, but donations can be dropped off until the end of December, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the County Administration building, next to the courthouse, on The Circle in Georgetown. Donations also can be made at the County’s West Complex, on Route 113 in Georgetown.

The event will take place regardless of the 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.