Sussex County kicks off annual food drive, announces Caroling on The Circle return

UPDATE: Sussex County reschedules 38th annual Caroling on The Circle to Dec. 13

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Food donations can be dropped off until the end of December, at the County Administrative Offices building, next to the courthouse, in Georgetown. (Photo: HOY en Delaware).

UPDATE – Georgetown, Del., Dec. 7, 2021: One of Sussex County’s favorite holiday traditions is getting a ‘second take’.

Sussex County officials have rescheduled the 38 annual Caroling on The Circle event for 6:30p.m. Monday, Dec. 13, in downtown Georgetown. The evening of various musical acts will feature traditional and Spanish carols, as well as a visit from Santa Claus, while also doubling as a canned food drive for area pantries.

The event was postponed from its original show date due to forecasted strong winds and rain that threatened to blow down lighting and audio equipment and disrupt the overall performance. Officials opted to postpone the event to safeguard guests, performers, and stagehands.

Each year, Caroling on The Circle serves as the centerpiece event to the County’s annual food drive, known as ‘Pack the Pod’, drawing hundreds of residents – along with the support of area schools, businesses and civic organizations – who turn out for an evening of Christmas carols and, more importantly, to lend a hand.

The event is free to attend; participants are asked only to bring non-perishable food items for donation, which can be dropped off at the County Administrative Offices building that night or anytime through the end of December. Guests are asked to help limit the spread of COVID-19 by following the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

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Georgetown, Del.: Strike up the band and warm up the singing pipes – Sussex County is set to come a-caroling again this holiday season.

County government on Monday, Nov. 1, announced that Caroling on The Circle will return in early December after muting last year’s festivities due to the global coronavirus pandemic. This year’s Caroling on The Circle celebration will be an outdoor-only event, weather permitting, and is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, in downtown Georgetown. A rain/snow date is not planned.

Each year, Caroling on The Circle serves as the centerpiece event to the County’s annual food drive, drawing hundreds of residents – along with the support of area schools, businesses and civic organizations – who turn out for an evening of Christmas carols and, more importantly, to lend a hand. While the Caroling event itself was put on hiatus in 2020, the annual food drive continued during the holiday season, collecting more than 15,000 items for distribution to area pantries, churches and food banks that feed families right here in Sussex County.

Organizers are hopeful for a closer-to-normal haul this year, as the 38 annual food drive kicks off this week and runs through the end of December. The public is asked to do their part to “Pack the Pod” – a 14-foot by 7-foot portable storage shed that will be set up at The Circle later this month – with donated food items.

In 2019, before the pandemic, the drive collected nearly 30,000 items for local food pantries. Since its inception in the 1980s, Caroling on The Circle has raised nearly 750,000 food items.

Sussex County kicks off food drive for 38th annual Caroling event County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said Caroling on The Circle helps bring the community closer, a familiar theme especially in the past year and a half as communities across the nation and around the world have worked together to overcome the challenges caused or heightened by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The last couple of years have changed the world in so many ways, right down to our personal routines and how we live our day-to-day lives,” Mr. Lawson said. “What hasn’t changed, though, is that giving spirit that has always been so strong in Sussex County, and made this community so special. We didn’t need a pandemic to prove that to ourselves. It’s on display every day in this community, and I’m proud that we are able to continue that tradition with Caroling on The Circle and the ‘Pack the Pod’ food drive this year.”

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 El Centro Cultural group.

The event is free to attend; participants are asked only to bring non-perishable food items for donation. Guests are asked to help limit the spread of COVID-19 by following the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

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

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 ‘no contact’ drops 24 hours a day throughout the holiday season. Staff will routinely collect items and ‘Pack the Pod’ before delivering food to pantries.