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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 Cityâ€™s fire chief. He remembers the annual event as a child.
â€śI remember my dad passing out the candy in the 70s,â€ť LaRue said. â€śTo this day, it is still incredible to see the children come out. The atmosphere is exciting and itâ€™s a lot of fun.â€ť
The department raises funds throughout the year to purchase enough candy for each child to have a 1 pound bag of candy and oranges.
â€śWhere 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 communityâ€™s help,â€ť LaRue said.
The total cost for the project is approximately $2,000. â€śAny donations are appreciated,â€ť said LaRue. â€śIt 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 itâ€™s not going to die.â€ť
The community has had a positive response to the event year after year. LaRue recounted a memory of the departmentâ€™s receipt of a letter.
â€śAn 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,â€ťsaid 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.