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COLUMBIA CITY â Christmas Eve, firemen with the Columbia City Fire Department will partake in a tradition spanning 125 years.
The holiday candy and orange give-away has been one way the fire department serves the community. The event will be held on Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Courthouse and is open to all children.
Tom LaRue is Col-umbia Cityâs fire chief. He remembers the annual event as a child.
âI remember my dad passing out the candy in the 70s,â LaRue said. âTo this day, it is still incredible to see the children come out. The atmosphere is exciting and itâs a lot of fun.â
The department raises funds throughout the year to purchase enough candy for each child to have a 1 pound bag of candy and oranges.
âWhere else can you go and get a 1 pound bag of candy and oranges for free? This is a big thing we do each year and we need the communityâs help,â LaRue said.
The total cost for the project is approximately $2,000. âAny donations are appreciated,â said LaRue. âIt gets harder and harder to raise the money. I know money is tight for everyone, but this has been such a long tradition, we are adamant that itâs not going to die.â
The community has had a positive response to the event year after year. LaRue recounted a memory of the departmentâs receipt of a letter.
âAn elderly lady said she came to the candy give away in a horse-drawn sleigh. She came all the way from Warsaw on Christmas Eve night. In her letter she said how important the candy give-away was. It was her Christmas,âsaid LaRue.
For those wanting to donate to the give-away, monetary contributions can be sent to the Columbia City Fire Department, 112 S. Chauncey St. Columbia City, IN 46725.