Various institutions around the state took part in charitable actions to benefit the communities in which they serve. Staff from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation rolled up their sleeves to serve food to the needy, distribute gifts and bicycles to disadvantaged children and helped gather food to stock shelves at local food banks.
Here is a round-up of these generous acts:
California Correctional Institution
By Lt. Joshua Tyree, AA/Public Information Officer
The California Correctional Institution (CCI) in Tehachapi partnered with the Tehachapi Salvation Army to bring Christmas gifts to less fortunate children of the Tehachapi community.
CCI was given Angel Tree wish lists representing 75 children of the Tehachapi community. Each Angel Tree wish list listed a child by gender, age, shoes size, and clothing size and gave a couple options of what each child was wishing for during the Christmas holiday giving season. Employees at CCI pulled together and bought enough gifts to cover more than just the 75 Angel Tree children.
On Dec. 22, parents and children began arriving at the Monroe gymnasium in Tehachapi. The volunteers had previously sorted all the gifts into rows on the gymnasium floor and even provided an elf and Santa Claus to give over the gifts. Many of these children received bicycles, toys, clothes and some were fortunate enough to receive electronic tablets.
In conjunction with the Angel Tree gifts, CCI employees also collected canned food for donation to the local Salvation Army.
Jessica Pimentel, a Salvation Army volunteer and CCI employee, said, “The canned foods are used throughout the year to give to families who don’t have food. Just yesterday a new family arrived to Tehachapi and had no food. So they were given some of the donated food items to get them started.”
CCI employees filled seven 50-gallon receptacles with donated conned goods. Associate Warden of Health Care Access, Brad Sanders, was instrumental in coordination and collection of the canned food items.
“I really love to see the effort and generosity that the employees of CCI contribute every year,” said CCI Warden Kim Holland. “And this year is no different. CCI employees really met the challenge this year and made a great impact to the help and support that the Tehachapi Salvation Army provides to the community of Tehachapi.”
Correctional Training Facility, Soledad,
and Salinas Valley State Prison
By Lt. Eduardo Mazariegos, CTF AA/Public Information Officer
Law enforcement and two state prisons recently came together to help needy families during the holidays.
This sixth annual Cops Giving Tree event has been coordinated by the Soledad Police Department in conjunction with faculty volunteers from the Soledad Unified School District, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Correctional Training Facility, Salinas Valley State Prison and the South Monterey County YMCA.
In addition, Lion’s Club International has donated food and provided staff to help prepare the Christmas meals.
The evening was filled with children’s wide eyes and laughter. All families received a gift from Santa Claus and a hot turkey dinner served by law enforcement representatives. The recipients were chosen by the Soledad School District and charitable organizations working with the sponsors to identify those truly in need.
Over 88 deserving families from Soledad were treated to a Christmas banquet and gift presentation on Friday, Dec. 18, at the Soledad YMCA. Over 500 meals were served and 400 gifts presented. Also, each family received a bicycle.
SVSP and CTF raised over $7,000 for the event. Both institutions donated all the bicycles and toys. These donations were collected from staff food sales ($6,000), CCPOA donation ($700) and inmate donations from SVSP/CTF fund drives ($1,100).
By Lt. Eduardo Mazariegos, AA/Public Information Officer, SVSP
Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) staff has again sponsored the Annual Christmas Angel Tree gift donation event.
Since 1997, SVSP staff has donated gifts to children in need from our local communities. Over 200 children from Soledad, Gonzales and King City had gifts personally delivered by SVSP officers and SVSP Explorer Post 355 volunteers.
The gifts given to the children are requested by the children themselves. The special gift, with the child’s name and age, is written on an angel card and placed on the Administration Christmas Tree. SVSP staff chose what gifts they could donate. All children received gifts.
Gifts ranged from toys to shoes.
“The look in the eyes of children who receive these gifts is priceless,” said one of the volunteers.
California Institution for Women
By Lt. Rosie Thomas, AA/Public Information Officer
On Dec. 4, California Institution for Women (CIW), California Correctional Peace Officer Association (CCPOA) and Southern Backgrounds hosted a Toys for Tots toy drive.
CCPOA members presented toys to the U.S. Marine Corps who were represented by Staff Sgt. E. Schrader and Sgt. I. Castrejon.
CIW also donated 20 bicycles refurbished by inmate workers.
Wasco State Prison-Reception Center
By Sabrina Lynch-Aguiniga, Community Resource Manager
As the Christmas holiday rapidly moved closer, the blissful little elves (staff) and Santa Claus (Capt. Darren White) under the observant direction of Warden John N. Katavich, at Wasco State Prison – Reception Center (WSP-RC), were busy collecting, wrapping and organizing delivery of gifts for approximately 196 children from the local communities to bring some holiday cheer to those in need.
Lists of childrens names and their gift requests were provided from local schools in the City of Wasco and the Town of Allensworth; such as Wasco Orthopedic School, Wasco Headstart, Sunrise Villa Headstart and Allensworth School.
In cooperation with the Alpaugh Fire Department, Santa and Mrs. Claus (Mrs. White) were able ride in style on a red fire truck. Upon arriving at Allensworth School, they were greeted by approximately 85 smiling and giggling children eagerly waiting to see Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Although, there were many joyous and happy faces during the gift-giving time, there was much heaviness with the WSP-RC staff since this was the last year that Warden John N. Katavich would be involved in a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation program. Warden Katavich retired from WSP-RC.
California Health Care Facility
By Lt. Steve Zanini, AA/Public Information Officer
The California Health Care Facility chapter of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association collected enough money to make Christmas a little happier for four classrooms.
Thanks to their efforts, two kindergarten and two first-grade classes were given presents before Hazelton Elementary School’s extended winter break.
Administration staff from CHCF also attended.
“We had about 180 gifts to hand-out to the students,” said one volunteer.
This was with the full participation of CHCF’s staff including the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Correctional Health Care Services and the Department of State Hospitals
Media, representing KCRA 3 News and the Stockton Record, were present at the event.
Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva and retired Warden Lattimore were also present.
Pelican Bay State Prison
By Lt. Jessica Berg, AA/Public Information Officer
Every year Pelican Bay State Prison selects a local school, on a rotation basis.
All the first-grade and kindergarten students write letters to Santa with their toy requests. This year, the selected school was Bess Maxwell School.
Staff who work at Pelican Bay choose a letter purchase and wrap the gift. Every letter is filled. Once all the toys are collected, Santa (who is also a Correctional Sergeant) rides in one of the fire trucks to the school. There, he and his elves pass out the gifts to each child. The Warden and the Chief Deputy Warden also attend.
California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran