Columbiana PD holds inaugural ‘Candy Cane Buddies’ program

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

COLUMBIANA — There is still time to participate in the Columbiana Police Department’s inaugural Candy Cane Buddies program, which seeks to help local families who are unable to provide gifts for their children this Christmas.

The department is accepting applications through Monday, Nov. 23. Applications are available at Columbiana P.D. or City Hall and may be submitted for families who live within the department’s jurisdiction.

In the program’s second phase, residents are asked to stop by the department or City Hall and pull a “Candy Cane Buddy” from the giving tree, which will include a wish list from a local child alongside the child’s age, gender and a specific need. Residents will then shop for the items and drop them off at CPD Dispatch by Dec. 14 to be disbursed to families before Christmas Day.

“We had thought about it last year, but it was too late to get it kicked off. Then, COVID came and it caused even greater hardship to people in our community, and then the hurricane with all the storm damage,” said Kim Fuller, dispatch supervisor with Columbiana P.D. “The need for our community has just grown and grown and grown. We want to provide for our community more than just public safety and be more about public service.”

Fuller estimated the department plans to help at least 10 families with children ages 4-18, but this number could be expanded to include more families in the “tri-city” area of Columbiana, Wilsonville and Shelby. She also said Peer Helpers at Shelby County High School are pitching in to help with the program.

The Christmas trees should be up before Black Friday, although many retailers are expanding from the traditional Black Friday shopping day to include an entire month of special deals.

“Those who pick up gifts should have the gifts turned in by Dec. 14 so the department can get them separated and passed out by Christmas,” Fuller said. “Families will be able to pick up their gifts on Dec. 18 and Dec. 21.”

Fuller added that families receiving the gifts may elect to either have them wrapped or take them home and wrap the gifts themselves.

For more information, call 205-669-5800 or email Fuller at kfuller@columbianapolice.com.