Gladstone Candy Cane Drive is Sunday

GLADSTONE — Decorated fire trucks and Christmas music will fill the streets of Gladstone and surrounding areas with Christmas cheer Sunday, Dec. 16. The Christmas Candy Cane Can Food Drive is a holiday tradition for the Gladstone Public Safety Department, and this year, the Christmas- themed food drive occurs Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m.

“We started it here about 20 years ago,” Gladstone Public Safety Det. Sgt. Aaron Quinlan said about the food drive.

Gladstone Public Safety officers and firefighters from the Gladstone Volunteer Fire Department and the Escanaba Township Volunteer Fire Department, along with their families, friends and other volunteers will be going through the community of Gladstone and the Bluff area handing out candy canes and collecting non-perishable food items.

“We got two fire trucks here and we’ll decorate both of them,” Quinlan said. “We pretty much use 9th Street as the divider — one truck will hit every street on this side and one truck will hit every street on the other side. We’ll walk around, knock on your door, hand out candy canes and in return we ask for non-perishable food items.”

He explained the Escanaba Township Volunteer Fire Department handles the Bluff area.

What happens local, stays local. Quinlan said after the event they organize the donations and bring the non-perishable food to the Gladstone St. Vincent de Paul food pantry.

“It’s the season of giving, we’re always looking for a way to help out,” Quinlan said.

He explained last year was the program’s best year to date. Last year, 2,840 pounds of food was collected.

Quinlan said organizers are always looking to do better and improve.

He said community reaction to the exchange has been a positive one.

“We get a very, very favorable response to this program,” Quinlan said. “This is a really good program. It helps out a lot of people in the community that need the help.”

The residents of Gladstone and the Bluff area are asked to have their porch lights on so volunteers know they are home and ready for the holiday exchange of candy canes for canned goods.

“If you’re planning on participating and you’re waiting for us leave your porch light on so we know,” Quinlan said. “I mean regardless we’re going to knock on your door whether you have your porch light on or not.”

And for those curious, he said the candy canes are primarily peppermint with some fruit flavors as well.