County launches annual Caroling on The Circle food drive

Sussex County government this week kicked off its yearly food drive for community food banks and will celebrate that effort during the 35th annual Caroling on The Circle event, set for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3, 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 2017, the food drive collected more than 27,000 items for nearly a dozen organizations. County officials are aiming to collect as many or more this year, and are encouraging the public to do their part now to “Pack the Pod” — a 14-by-7-foot portable storage shed that will be set up at The Circle — with food items for local food pantries. Since its inception in the 1980s, Caroling on The Circle has collected almost 700,000 items for local food pantries.

County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said Caroling on The Circle helps the community do more than fill empty shelves — it exemplifies the county’s spirit of neighbors helping neighbors.

“This is a giving community, and that really shines through in events like the annual Caroling on The Circle,” Lawson said. “Good economic times, not so good economic times, it doesn’t matter. Sussex Countians are compassionate, caring people, and they always come together to help their neighbors, no matter the need, and no matter the challenge. We’re proud of what we are able to accomplish with this campaign each year, and we look forward to the 35th annual event being another success.”

The historic Sussex County Courthouse and The Circle will serve as the backdrop for an evening of traditional and Spanish carols, as well as a visit from Santa Claus. TV personality Jimmy Hoppa will emcee this year’s event, which will feature local singing artists Kevin Short and Ed Shockley. Also joining in the performances will be the Georgetown Middle School and Mariner Middle School 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 Delaware Coastal 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.