Published: Dec 17, 2013 12:52 PM EST
Updated: Dec 17, 2013 12:55 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla. - First Presbyterian Church will celebrate the holidays by singing together to help feed the hungry at the 23rd Annual Holiday Carol Sing. The Southwest Florida tradition is sponsored by the Galloway Family of Dealerships.

The late Barbara B. Mann was a faithful attendee of the service and the church and will be honored with a moment of silence.

First Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers is located at 2438 Second Street in downtown Fort Myers, between Lee Street and Royal Palm Avenue.

Admission is at least two cans of non-perishable food for the Everyday Café and Marketplace (formerly known as The Soup Kitchen), operated by Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. (CCMI), and a voluntary cash donation, if you can.

Because of the overwhelming popularity of the event, three carol sings are planned at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The doors will open 30 minutes prior to show time.

First Presbyterian’s pastor, Rev. Paul deJong, is urging the community to help with canned goods and cash donations to help those in need.

“We need to help The Soup Kitchen by donating as much canned goods and cash donations as we can to help families through this prolonged recession,” he said.

CCMI provided food and other services to 10,250 people last year. “There are even more families who need our help. Do what God would want you to do and give what you can,” Rev. deJong said.

CCMI was started by First Presbyterian Church in 1984 to help alleviate hunger and suffering in Lee County. The church has continued to support its ministry there by providing volunteers in The Soup Kitchen and delivering hot meals to home-bound seniors.

Hymn Sing organizer Sam Galloway, Jr., has made feeding the hungry part of his life’s work. “Our community has done so much to help our neighbors, but we need to do even more. If we each just gave the equivalent of what we would spend on a meal – either at home or in a restaurant – those few dollars could feed a family of four for an entire week.” Galloway said.

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.

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 be making a surprise visit.

Last year, CCMI received more than 2,500 pounds of canned goods and other non-perishable items from theHoliday Carol Sing. The food was immediately distributed to those in need.

For more information, call First Presbyterian Church at (239) 334-2261 or visit