North Carolina Department of Correction

Correction employees bring the spirit of Christmas to their communities

Last updated January 21, 1999

Correction employees in Raleigh spread Christmas cheer

RALEIGH — For the second year in a row, correction employees in the Triangle helped hundreds of children and senior citizens have a merrier Christmas by participating in the department's Angel Tree project.

Gloria Shepherd, organizer of the
Raleigh DOC Angel Tree

Shana, daughter of DOC employee Lena
Webb, helped when employees met to
celebrate the Angel tree project.

Begun last year by former Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis, the Angel Tree project provides gifts for those in need during the holiday season.

"This is the time of the year that we look beyond ourselves to others who are in need of assistance," said Deputy Secretary Theodis Beck. "This project was started last year by Secretary Jarvis, and I am glad it continues on even without him here."

With the help of numerous volunteers within the department, this year's Angel Tree project was, once again, organized by Gloria Shepherd of the department's Management Information Systems. The volunteers contacted the Department of Human Services and the Salvation Army for names of children and senior citizens who were in need of help. Other names came from the Central Children's Home of North Carolina, correction employees who have suffered hardships and DOC referrals.

The names and the wishes of the recipients were distributed through correction offices in November. Employees selected names from the tree and purchased the requested gifts which were distributed in December. In all, correction employees helped 388 children and senior citizens have a brighter Christmas.

Gene English, coordinator of Holiday Cheer, said the department's Angel Tree project is the third or fourth largest project his organization works with each year to provide gifts for the less fortunate.

"You have all done a great job," he told correction employees gathered at a reception for the Angel Tree project. "We really appreciate all that you have done."

In addition to providing gifts to the children and senior citizens, employees also collected blankets for the homeless as part of this year's Christmas project.

Acting Secretary Joe Hamilton expressed his appreciation for the generosity of the correction employees who participated in the Angel Tree project.

"This year we helped 388 people. I find that incredible," he said. "We are truly blessed to have some very special employees in this department who are more than willing to do all that they can to help others."

Pasquotank Correctional Institution

Set up a "Coats for Kids" box in the front lobby of the institution in December. All coats and sweaters that were donated by staff, were sent to a local cleaners, who donated the cleaning of the items. They were then taken to a local school.

Set up a Canned Food drive in the front lobby in November. The Albemarle Manna Food Bank Director came out for a photo, and the goods were picked up 12/21.

  Officer Robert Rentkewicz and Unit Managers Tommy
Castelloe and Brian Hedspeth of Pasquotank CI with
Cindy Wagner of Albemarle Manna Food Bank.

Marion Correctional Institution

Staff at MCI decided to help out two of our employees this year. Officer Milton Conley has been diagnosed with kidney failure and must have a kidney transplant. Officer James Davis' wife was in a car accident approximately 3 weeks ago and remains in a coma. Both officers have small children and are facing large medical bills and long term recovery. Staff have placed an "Angel Tree" in the lobby of MCI with names and descriptions of each child involved. Gifts will include toys,clothes, food and money to help with expenses.

Division of Community Corrections, 4th Division Office

The 4th Division Office contributed to Eliada Home's Children's Christmas Stocking Fund. The funded was established to help needy children and their families during the Holidays.

Columbus Correctional Institution

The Men's Club, an inmate group, will provide $200.00 to the Salvation Army this year. A representative of the Salvation Army will meet with club members on December 16, 1998 at their annual Christmas Banquet to accept the check. The club will also provide a gift of $200.00 to a needy family in Columbus County. A family has been selected by the Columbus County Department of Social Services to receive the gift. The family is a grandmother who provides support for her seven (7) grandchildren, ages 13 months to 11 years. She receives a small assistance from social services for their support.

The giving to the Salvation Army and to a needy family at Christmas has been an ongoing tradition for the Men's Club for many years.

Central Prison

Central Prison is participating in Toys for Tots, Angel Tree and Blankets for the homeless.

Division of Community Corrections, 1st Division Office

The Division of Community Correction units in Pitt County hosted their annual Christmas Party Dec 4 inviting area representatives of the criminal justice community. The gathering raised $1,000 that was provided to a Pitt County court employee whose 13-year-old daughter is facing her third battle with cancer. Officer Bonnie Evans was helped by Jennifer Miller and Kathryn Perkins in organizing the event.

The 1st Division chapter of the NC Probation/Parole Officers Assoc. had its 2nd annual Christmas Party in Greenville at the National Guard Armory on Dec 4. They had about 180 Probation Officers from Eastern NC attend and collected some 200 plus toys to be donated to Toys for Tots.

District 8A Lenoir County sponsored a family of five - mother,father and 3 children ages 5,4, and 2. We bought bikes for all 3 children as well as other toys on their wish list. We bought a turkey breast and other food items. The family picked up the items on 12-18-98 and were very appreciative. Greene County also sponsored a mother and daughter and bought gifts for them.

Craven Correctional Institution

Inmates in the horticulture class at Craven Correctional Institution, Vanceboro, will be delivering poinsettia plants they grew, decorated with Christmas paper and bows to the Coastal Women's Shelter, New Bern Homeless Shelter, Vanceboro Senior Center, United Senior Services, Westarm Woods and elderly housing. This is a project voted on by the inmates who wanted to give some comfort and cheer to those who may have none during the holidays.

Pender Correctional Institution

The Christmas Bear Tree for children of Pender Correctional Institution's inmates, will be sponsored again this year during inmate visitation Dec 19 and 20. The 1996 and 1997 Bear Trees were very successful. The children, as well as the inmates, enjoyed the idea. We have hopes of making the 1998 Christmas a memorable one. Over the past two years nearly 400 stuffed animals and bears have been donated by the prison staff. Also, with the assistance of the prison's Mental Health staff, the inmates in the social skills program made 200 stockings. Everything came together very nicely with all the staff working together as a team. This year we also need approximately 200 bears and candy to fill the stockings.

Division of Community Corrections, 2nd Division Office

Probation staff who are members of the Division 2 Chapter of the North Carolina Probation and Parole Association visited the children at the Ronald McDonald House in Durham Dec 4. The officers delivered a contribution and spent some time with the children and their families.

Wilmington Residential Facility for Women

Staff and inmates at Wilmington Residential Facility participated in a project to help the Samaritan's Purse over the holidays.

Each year, the Samaritan's Purse, based in Boone, reaches millions of children through Operation Christmas Child. Volunteers are asked to fill a shoe box with items for a boy or girl. These shoe boxes are then shipped to 43 different countries throughout the world.

A total of 12 boxes were completed by three staff members and 11 inmates. Some of the boxes were shared by more than one inmate in purchasing the gifts. A great deal of thought went into the gift purchases, and several inmates knitted items for the boxes.

Foothills Correctional Institution

The staff at Foothills Correctional Institution sponsored fifty needy children at Salem Elementary School. On December 18th our staff will have a program in the gym for these children to open their gifts. They will have a visit from Santa and a picture of each child will be taken so they may share this with their families.

This is the fourth year our staff has sponsored this event. We work closely with the school requesting information such as the child's obvious needs, educational needs and what the child would like for Christmas from Santa. With this information, the employee activity committee creates an angel tree which includes the information above. Staff then sponsor an angel from the tree and return gifts to Foothills for delivery to the school. All staff who can participate meet at the school on the date of delivery and assist children in opening their gifts and delivering their gifts to their residents if needed. this has been a blessing to our staff and the superintendent is very supportive of this. This is looked forward to every year.

Division of Community Corrections, 3rd Division Office

The NC Probation and Parole Association chapter in the 3rd Division of the NC Division of Community Corrections held a charity Christmas party Friday, Dec. 11 in Salisbury. Officers from the divisions 22 counties brought approximately $3,000 worth of canned goods and toys and $572 to donate to the Empty Stocking Fund. Ashe County Intensive Officer Tim Long donated a Christmas tree. Officers from every county brought ornaments that were used to trim the tree. It was donated to a needy family in the community. Unused materials and extra food were donated to the Nazareth Children's Home of Rowan County.

Judicial District 17B employees in Stokes County are involved with the Stokes County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #40. providing Christmas cheer for 30 needy children. Through a special agreement with K-Mart stores, each child will receive a $50 debit card to purchase gifts of their choice. K-Mart is also providing gifts at special prices for distribution by Lodge #40. Neighbors Convenience Stores is providing fruit baskets and numerous individuals in the community are donating toys and other gifts.

Judicial District 17B employees in Surry County are involved with the Surry County Sheriff's Department and Surry County Fraternal Order of the Police in the "Shop with a Cop" program Dec. 20

Judicial District 21 employees in Forsyth County have been involved with a penny drive for the past two months. Each probation unit has been collecting pennies to be donated to the local soup kitchen.

Brown Creek Correctional Institution

This Christmas Season Brown Creek Correctional Institution is giving the gift of life. On December 21, 1998, Brown Creek will sponsor a Red Cross Blood Drive. This will be the third year that we have sponsored such an event so close to Christmas. We try to sponsor two (2) blood drives a year. We are looking for this blood drive to be a success. Due to our generous staff we have always exceeded the goal set up by the Red Cross. We hope to exceed it again this Christmas Season.

Neuse Correctional Institution

A fund was established so that if each prison employee donated one dollar, they would have sufficient funds to sponsor three families designated by the Wayne County Department of Social Services as needing help over the holidays. According to Assistant Superintendent Milton Nowell, fundraising exceeded expectations and prison staff gave enough to help five families have special holiday meals.

Tyrrell Prison Work Farm

Employees held a food drive collecting 232 non perishable food items Nov 24. The food was delivered to the newly formed local food bank where the staff was very appreciative.

On Dec 16, Santa Claus and staff delivered 40 goodie bags and sang Christmas carols to the residents of the Senior Citizen Center in Tyrrell County. On Dec 18, staff collected 123 toys that were donated to the local Toys for Tots drive.

Western Youth Institution

The prison's PERT team adopted five children at area elementary schools and provided them Christmas gifts of clothing and toys. The staff at the IMPACT boot camp and Western Youth Institution also adopted 7 children at another school providing them needed clothing and toys. The staff at both facilities donated a total of $725.00. $600.00 was used to buy the gifts. The remaining $125.00 was given to the school to help with special needs of any child at the school.

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