JAMESTOWN (WATE) – Each year as part of Operation Christmas Child Samaritan’s Purse fills shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement to send to children in need around the world.
Two years ago, Paula Sewell, a collection coordinator for Operation Christmas Child needed extra help, so she reached out to the Morgan County Correctional Complex to get inmates to help pack shoeboxes to send to children. This year, inmates are also helping to make Christmas wishes come true by crafting wooden toys at the prison to be put in the shoe boxes.
Inmates are working year around to make thousands of wooden toys, cars and planes.
“We went from just constructing a few toys in our wood shop to full on, full assembly line building thousands and thousands of toys,” said Robert Hill, a carpenter instructor at the prison.
Inmates at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex and the Northeast Correctional Facility also help make toys and clothes to go in the boxes. Hill said making toys not only benefits Samaritan’s Purse, but appears to also give inmates a sense of accomplishment with a good deed.
“Once they realize what it’s for, then they realize that’s a way that they can give back,” Hill added.
Samaritan’s Purse is active all across the country and sends the shoeboxes out to kids in more than 180 other countries.
“In these shoeboxes are things that I say we take for granted–personal hygiene items, toothbrushes, toothpaste,” said Sewell.
For more information on Samaritan’s Purse, visit their website.