You can celebrate the Edison Festival of Light and help feed the hungry by attending "Mrs. Edison's Hymn Sing" Tuesday, Feb. 9, at The First Presbyterian Church in downtown Fort Myers at the corner of Second Street and Lee Street.
Admission is free but cash donations and canned goods will be accepted for The Soup Kitchen, operated by Community Cooperative Ministries Inc.
It's the 21st year of the hymn sing, which is organized and sponsored by the Galloway Family of Dealerships. Because of the overwhelming popularity of the event, three performances are planned at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The doors will open 30 minutes prior to each performance.
Admission is free, but because of the increased need for food for the hungry, organizers are requesting that those who attend bring cans of non-perishable food and a voluntary cash donation, if possible, to benefit The Soup Kitchen of Community Cooperative Ministries.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we desperately need your help. The need for food is absolutely critical this year and seems to be ongoing for the near future. Love your fellow neighbor. Attempt to do what God would do and want you to do.
"Show me a man or woman who has not needed a helping hand in his or her life," said organizer Sam Galloway Jr.
"Rising unemployment and the downturn in our local economy have caused many of our neighbors to ask for food to feed their families for the first time in their lives. Our director has told me, 'Sam, I cannot tell you who, but people are coming for groceries whom you and I know.'
"We can't allow our neighbors and friends to be hungry. Please, we need our community to get together and help with all the canned goods they can.
"We need to raise the roof with money and food, please," Galloway said.
Galloway, who originated the hymn sing in 1989, said he wanted to do something to honor Mina Edison during the Edison Festival celebration.
"We hear a great deal about the wonderful work of Thomas Alva Edison, but we don't do a lot to honor his wife who also volunteered a great deal of her time and talent to making Fort Myers what it is today. This hymn sing is a way to honor her good work too," Galloway said.
This year's event will feature the First Presbyterian Sanctuary Choir and many other singers, including members of the Master Singers, Guest Soloists, along with an orchestra and a Piano-Organ Combination.
To accommodate the large crowd expected, closed circuit televisions also will be set up in the church's Fellowship Hall and the chapel.
For more information or directions to the church, call 334-2261 or visit www.fpcfortmyers.org.