Residents can celebrate the holidays by singing together to help feed the hungry at the 22nd Annual Holiday Carol Sing, presented by First Presbyterian Church and the Galloway Family of Dealerships.
The event will be held Dec. 11 at the church, at 2438 Second St. in Fort Myers.
Admission is at least two cans of non-perishable food for the Everyday Cafe and Marketplace - formerly known as The Soup Kitchen - which is operated by Community Cooperative Ministries. Voluntary cash donations will also be accepted.
PHOTO SPECIAL TO THE CITIZEN
Carolers in the courtyard of First Presbyterian church at last year’s Holiday Carol Sing.
"We certainly need to raise all of the money we can to feed the hungry, but in the event you don't have the money, do not feel embarrassed or let that keep you away," organizer Sam Galloway Jr. said. "This is a birthday party - it's Jesus' birthday. Our birthday party is in God's house and he welcomes everyone, regardless of means, and so do we."
Because of the overwhelming popularity of the event, three carol sings are planned at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to show time.
First Presbyterian's pastor, the Rev. Paul deJong, is urging the community to help with canned goods and cash donations to help those in need.
"The need for food has become a desperate situation for many families in our community," deJong said. "Continued unemployment and the ongoing 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. We need our community to come together and help with all the canned goods they can."
Galloway said cash donations are especially needed because CCMI can buy five times as much food for the same amount of money that residents spend at local grocery stores.
"This way, we can take every dollar and make it stretch as far as is humanly possible," he said. "The need is greater - more than people realize. Please dig as deep as you can."
Residents who cannot attend the performances may donate canned goods at the Galloway Ford dealership on Boy Scout Drive or the Coconut Point Ford dealership on U.S. 41 in Estero, or they can mail donations to CCMI, P.O. Box 2143, Fort Myers, FL 33902.
The Holiday Carol Sing is a festival of holiday music and family fun. This year's 90-minute performance will feature the First Presbyterian Church Choir, soloists and other special guests singing favorite holiday carols with audience sing-a-longs.
There is a strong rumor that Santa Claus will make a surprise visit for the "children in all of us."
All canned goods and cash will benefit CCMI, which operates two locations of the Everyday Cafe and Marketplace in Cape Coral and in Fort Myers.
Last year, CCMI received more than 4,500 pounds of canned goods and other non-perishable items from the event.
For information, call 334-2261 or visit: www.fpcfortmyers.org.