Sussex County’s Caroling on The Circle rings in food drive

GEORGETOWN — The holiday season took center-stage Monday night with Caroling on The Circle, a longstanding Sussex County tradition that is the signature event in county government’s seasonal food drive to help the needy.

Hundreds of people gathered in The Circle in the heart of downtown Georgetown to sing carols in English and Spanish, share in the holiday glow and await the arrival of Santa Claus.

The grand finale of the 35th Caroling on The Circle was a spectacular light holiday light show by Mid South Audio.

“On behalf of the county council and all of our county employees, thank you for coming out,” said Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent.

“We thank all of the people who put this together and worked very hard to do this. We hope everybody has a very joyous holiday and a very Merry Christmas. And do not forget the reason; it’s all about the birth of a baby.”

A Caroling on The Circle tradition: the St. Michael’s Catholic Church Children’s Choir sings one of their holiday staples “Los peces en el rio.”

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 hope to collect as many or more this year and are encouraging the public 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—– with food items for local food pantries.

The Pack the POD drive began in November and continues through the end of December. The tally as of the start of Caroling on The Circle stood at 23,875 donated food items.

Georgetown resident Joann Gibbs brought a bag of food items in attending in her sixth Caroling on The Circle event.

“I like to see the people come, and bring joy and try to help others, the ones that are less fortunate than we are,” Ms. Gibbs said. “We are all together as one.”

Monday night marked the Caroling on The Circle debut for Rehoboth Beach resident Diaz Bonville, who works for U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., with an office right on The Circle.

“This is my first year. I keep saying every year that I am going to come. This year, of course my office is right on the corner there, and I said, ‘I’ve got to come,’” said Mr. Bonville, who contributed three bags of canned goods in the effort to help the needy.

“And the thing about this time of the year is it gets people together. I still believe that Sussex County is a great county to be in and we come together. And when we come together, we come together strong.

“And what better time than Caroling on the Circle? It gets people together.’

Food donations can be dropped off 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.

Monday’s event pushed this year’s food drive total to 24,556  canned goods  or non-perishable food items.

Since its inception in the 1980s, Caroling on The Circle has raised almost 700,000 items for local food pantries.

“Time and time again, Sussex County comes through when it really counts,” Sussex County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said. “I am proud of what Caroling on The Circle has accomplished this year, and in the past three decades. I’m especially proud of how our business community, schools, organizations, County employees and the general public always work together to help so many of our fellow neighbors. That’s what the season of giving is all about.”

Mr. Lawson thanked the public and those in attendance at Monday night’s event, and acknowledged several participating groups. Those included Sussex County Council, Sussex County employees, ALOFT Aero-Architects, Steve Class/Colonial East, First State Manufactured Housing Association, Flex World Fitness, Fuqua, Willard, Stevens & Schab law firm, Sussex County Association of REALTORS®, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati law firm, Georgetown Elementary, Millsboro Middle, Milton Elementary and Sussex Central High schools.

Following the Caroling on The Circle festivities, free cookies and hot chocolate were served at the Georgetown Fire Company Station 77.

Sussex Post News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com.

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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