Sussex County’s annual Caroling on The Circle will strike a much different chord this holiday season because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
County Administrator Todd F. Lawson announced on Tuesday, Oct. 27, that the annual December gathering of singers, musicians and community members in downtown Georgetown — the marquee event for the County’s annual food drive campaign — is being suspended this year.
Lawson said the decision to forgo the 37th annual celebration was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure public health, as the event usually draws several hundred people, many of them families with school-age children and senior citizens, who could be susceptible to community spread of the contagion in a mass gathering setting.
The County hopes to raise the curtain again on Caroling on The Circle in December 2021, he said.
“These are certainly different and unusual times, and circumstances being what they are, we believe Caroling on The Circle must adapt just as so many other events have had to do in 2020,” Lawson said.
“But as they say in the entertainment business, ‘The show must go on,’ and it will go on, at least in part, in the form of our annual ‘Pack the Pod’ food drive. Our mission to help those less fortunate remains the same, and we need the public’s help now more than ever.”
Beginning in mid-November and lasting through Dec. 31, the County will collect donated non-perishable items to distribute among nearly 20 pantries serving the public in Sussex County. To make donations convenient for the public, this year’s campaign includes two different options for citizens to lend their support:
• Food donations — These can be made anytime, 24 hours a day, outside the County Administrative Offices building, located at 2 The Circle, in downtown Georgetown. Receptacles, including a 14-foot-by-7-foot portable storage unit, will be placed outside the County complex, allowing the public to make “no contact” drops throughout the holiday season. Staff will routinely collect items and “Pack the Pod” before delivering food to pantries;
• Monetary donations — For those who prefer to limit their public travels to make a physical donation, the campaign this year will accept monetary contributions as an alternative. Funds raised will be used to purchase food items through local suppliers to distribute among local pantries. Checks should be made payable to Sussex County Council and mailed to Sussex County Government, c/o County Administration, P.O. Box 589, Georgetown, DE 19947. Donors should note “Caroling on The Circle/Pack the Pod food drive” in the memo line.
In 2019, the food drive collected more than 28,000 items for various organizations. Since its inception in the 1980s, Caroling on The Circle has raised more than 750,000 items for local families.
Lawson said that, to reach a similar level this year, the County will have to depend heavily on the general public and the business community to dig a little deeper in their cupboards and pockets. Every item collected and dollar raised will go to support families in Sussex County, he said.
“We know these are hard times, we know what the pandemic has done to many of our great small businesses and our friends and neighbors,” he said. “That’s why it’s imperative we do everything we can to pull together, to give a little more for those with a little less, to Keep Sussex Strong. I am confident that giving spirit that we all know and love here in Sussex County will shine bright this holiday season.”
For more information, visit www.sussexcountyde.gov/food-drive.