CHRISTMAS CANDY: Firemen sustain sweet treats for kids

COLUMBIA CITY — 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 City’s fire chief. He remembers the annual event as a child.“I remember my dad passing out the candy in the 70s,” LaRue said. “To this day, it is still incredible to see the children come out. The atmosphere is exciting and it’s a lot of fun.”The department raises funds throughout the year to purchase enough candy for each child to have a 1 pound bag of candy and oranges.“Where 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 community’s help,” LaRue said.The total cost for the project is approximately $2,000. “Any donations are appreciated,” said LaRue. “It 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 it’s not going to die.”The community has had a positive response to the event year after year. LaRue recounted a memory of the department’s receipt of a letter.“An 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,”said 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.