Sussex County begins food drive for 39th annual Caroling on The Circle campaign

St. Michael Catholic Church children's Chorus (Photo: HOY en Delaware)

Georgetown, Del., Nov. 1, 2022: The familiar sounds of carols and clinking canned goods are nigh, now that the holiday season is nearly upon us.

Sussex County government this week kicks off its yearly food drive for community food banks and will celebrate that effort during the 39th annual Caroling on The Circle event, set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, 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 2021, the food drive collected more than 20,000 items for more than a dozen-and-a-half organizations. County officials aim to collect as many or more 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. Since its inception in the 1980s, Caroling on The Circle has raised nearly 775,000 items for local food pantries.

County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said Caroling on The Circle is a cornerstone holiday event that brings out the community to help fellow families in need.

“This is what Sussex County is all about, neighbors helping neighbors, and it shows every year with the Caroling on The Circle program,” Mr. Lawson said. “We’re proud to continue this tradition, year after year, especially in these tough times with the pandemic and inflation. There is a tremendous need in our community, and it really warms the heart to see that, even in challenging times, people are able to find it within their hearts – and in their pockets – to spare something extra for those less fortunate.”

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’s on-air 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 Sussex Academy choirs, as well as 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, at the County Administrative Offices building, next to the courthouse, in Georgetown. Receptacles will be available outside the County complex, allowing the public to make drop-offs 24 hours a day throughout the holiday season. Staff will routinely collect items and ‘Pack the Pod’ before delivering food to pantries.

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.