County kicks off food-drive with carols

A Sussex County tradition is celebrating 30 years of putting festive tunes in the heart and much-needed food on the table for countless families.

Sussex County government is kicking off its yearly food drive for the community’s less fortunate and will celebrate the effort during the 30th annual Caroling on The Circle event, set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, 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 2012, the food drive collected more than 33,000 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.

“Thirty years ago, Caroling on The Circle began as a community benefit and that mission remains firmly in place today,” Mr. Lawson said. “Over three decades, our community has worked together to collect and donate more than 600,000 items for people who need help right here in Sussex County. That’s a measurable difference this community has made, and one we’re proud to continue hopefully for another 30 years.”

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. Local singing artists Ed Shockley, Kevin Short and The Reminders will lead the event. Joining them to perform will be the Georgetown Middle School choir 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.