Sussex County carolers, groups collect more than 20,000 food items for those in need

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Georgetown, Del., Dec. 9, 2013: A little frightful weather was no match for the human spirit, as hundreds of carolers braved a cold rain to warm hearts and help a worthy cause.

More than 300 carolers huddled together inside the Georgetown fire hall for a festive, albeit smaller, 30th annual Caroling on The Circle event Monday night, Dec. 9, singing traditional and Spanish carols. Along the way, carolers did their part to help collect more than 20,000 canned goods and non-perishable items for the less fortunate of the community.

“Despite the weather, we are thankful for every ounce of support our community has shown tonight and throughout this campaign,” County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said. “So many people in this community can and will have a better holiday and winter season thanks to the kindness and generosity of so many Sussex County residents.”

Each year, Caroling on The Circle kicks off the holiday season for Sussex County, while serving as a community food drive to benefit local pantries. Started in 1984 as part of the Delaware First initiative, Caroling on The Circle continues to help those in need three decades later. To date, the community has donated more than 620,000 canned goods through the Caroling on The Circle program during the course of its 30-year history.

As part of the Caroling event, Sussex County once again called on the public to ‘Pack the POD’ by setting up a 14-foot-by-7-foot PODS storage trailer on The Circle. The unit served as a focal point for Caroling and to heighten awareness about the food drive.

Monday night’s Caroling event, along with collections from Sussex County Council, County employees, numerous schools, groups and businesses, helped this year’s preliminary total to top 20,000 items. That’s down from the 33,000 items collected in 2012, likely the result of a number of factors, including the weather and a still-recovering economy. Nevertheless, the collection thus far has been a success, and the effort will continue through the end of this month.

“So the final number could and hopefully will go higher,” Mr. Lawson said. “We’re counting on Sussex Countians to keep giving. We’re not at the finish line yet.”

Mr. Lawson said because the need in the community continues to stretch local food pantry programs, the County will extend its collection effort through the end of December in order to maximize donation totals. The public can drop off canned goods and non-perishable food items between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the County Administrative Offices building on The Circle or the West Complex offices on U.S. 113, both in Georgetown.

Mr. Lawson thanked the public and those in attendance at Monday night’s event, and acknowledged several participating groups. Those included County Council, County employees, Arena’s Deli, Steve Class/Colonial East, the Delaware Manufactured Home Owners Association, First State Manufactured Housing Association, Fuqua, Yori & Willard, Little Einstein Preschool, PATS Aircraft Systems, Sussex County Association of REALTORS®, Beacon Middle, Georgetown Elementary, Georgetown Middle, H.O. Brittingham Elementary, Long Neck Elementary, Mariner Middle, Millsboro Middle, and Milton Elementary schools.

Items collected will be donated to approximately one dozen area pantries, shelters and church organizations for distribution within Sussex County.