All across the state, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation staff donated time, money, food and gifts to hundreds of children during the Christmas season.
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
By Robert Brown, Community Resources Manager
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
The Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF) held its annual Bike Giveaway at the Joan B. Kroc Center Salvation Army in San Diego, helping disadvantaged youth and spreading holiday cheer.
Through inmate fundraisers, RJDCF gave away 200 brand new Huffy bicycles, helmets, backpacks, locks and breakfast for the kids.
There were also 10 summer camp scholarships given away to the deserving children. Staff enjoyed assembling all the bicycles, and passing them out to the children. The Bike Giveaway event provides both the inmate population and staff the opportunity to give back to the local community and support those most in need during the holiday season.
In attendance to help pass out the bicycles were;the San Diego Padres and former Padre legend and Cy Young Award winner Randy Jones, RJDCF staff, CAC members, San Diego State Criminal Justice students, Crime Victims Coalition, National City Police Department and Correctional Peace Officers Foundation.
California Institution for Men
By Lt. Daniel Tristan, AA/Public Information Officer
In years past, the California Institution for Men (CIM) has always made efforts to connect and give back to the community during the holidays. This year CIM stepped it up by partnering with the Chino Valley Employee’s Association (CVEA) and Bad Boys Golf Club.
Together, two fundraisers were held: a bake sale and a holiday golf tournament. A toy drive was also conducted at the institution which was extremely successful. The staff at CIM showed how big there hearts are by raising over $3,600 and donating numerous toys. The response was so incredible, the number of charities CIM was able to assist doubled.
Volunteers from CIM accompanied by acting Warden Dean Borders passed out toys to children at the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. Every child in the Pediatric Unit was given a toy to brighten their stay at the hospital. The volunteers then went to the pediatric clinic and passed out toys to children as they waited to see a doctor. Over 30 children received toys all of which were donated by the CIM family.
After this, several of the volunteers met up with members of the CIM management team at Canyon Ridge Hospital in Chino. One service Canyon Ridge provides is treatment to adolescents ages 13 to 17 who suffer from emotional issues or trauma, many times the result of living in abusive homes. During the visit, CIM staff interacted with the teens, playing some Christmas trivia and passed out prizes. Some of the kids even gave small performances and sang for the volunteers. At the end of the visit, each of the 24 teens were given gift cards to various stores and restaurants.
Because the fundraisers were so successful, CIM was also able to provide children and families in Specialized Care Foster Family Agency and the Salvation Army Adopt-a-Family program gifts for the holiday. With the money raised, CIM was able to buy toys, blankets, clothes, shoes and gift cards to grocery stores for numerous kids in foster care and several families.
Even the inmates from CIM were able to give back this holiday season. Each holiday season the Chino Valley YMCA holds an event in which bikes are given to local children in need. The challenge each year is not finding the money to purchase the bikes, it’s getting them built. With the aid of the CIM Inland Valley Education Center, inmates assigned to vocational programs were able to build 134 bikes in one day. One of the inmates remembered receiving a bike as a kid from the YMCA and said, “I don’t think I would have gotten a gift that year if it weren’t for programs like this.”
Throughout this holiday season, the CIM family showed how much they care about kids, their community and giving back. The CIM management team was impressed by the donations but not surprised.
“This is what we’ve come to expect from the CIM family. We set the standard,” said one of the management team members.
California City Correctional Facility
By Lt. Robert Barrett, AA/Public Information Officer
California City Correctional Facility (CAC) joined with the California City Police and Fire Departments on Christmas Eve to deliver toys to families in the area.
During the months of November and December, CAC staff and inmates collected toys and held fundraisers to benefit children in the community who would not normally have a present under their Christmas tree.
Staff collected toys, clothing, school supplies and bicycles. The CAC Employee Association and California Correctional Supervisors Organization donated more than $1,750 to purchase additional toys.
Inmate self-help groups Alternatives to Violence and the Veterans Group conducted several fundraisers and together donated more than $3,300.
Kern Valley State Prison
By Lt. Marshall Denning, AA/Public Information Officer
Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) once again adopted Pond School in Delano for the holidays.
The school serves 240 students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. This year for the Adopt-a-School Christmas Program, KVSP staff with the help of Santa Claus distributed a $25 K-Mart or Sears gift card to each student.
The gift cards were made possible through funds generated by a food sale fundraiser. KVSP inmates actively participate in these fundraisers as a way to give back to the community.
“The look on the children’s faces when Santa appeared was priceless. These events embody the spirit of giving. I’m proud of Kern Valley State Prison and all of my staff. We are dedicated in serving the community and hold true to the Spirit of Giving, not just during the holidays, but throughout the year,” said Warden (A) Christian Pfeiffer.
California State Prison-Corcoran
By Lt. Luis A. Martinez, AA/Public Information Officer
California State Prison-Corcoran (CSP-Corcoran) successfully completed their 2015 Christmas Adopt-a-Child program.
In a collaborative effort, CSP-Corcoran staff donated more than 100 wrapped gifts and two bicycles to children who reside in the community of Corcoran. CSP-Corcoran’s staff, with the assistance of Santa Claus, welcomed over 50 families to spend time with Santa and receive their donated gifts.
“Thank you to all of CSP-Corcoran’s staff for their kindness. The families who reside in the city of Corcoran are truly appreciative of everyone’s generosity,” said a staff member at Corcoran Emergency Aid.
Organizers said,” CSP-Corcoran employees continue to demonstrate their devotion and compassion by continuing their efforts to assist children and families in the community. Additionally, a special thanks to Mackenzie Herrera for organizing and facilitating the Christmas Adopt-a-Child program.”
Valley State Prison
By Lt. Ronald Ladd, AA/Public Information Officer
Valley State Prison (VSP) partnered with the United States Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots to provide toys and coats for less fortunate children in Madera County.
The inmates at the Chowchilla prison raised approximately $4,000 and wanted to give back to the children of the community. Toys for Tots assisted with the purchasing of toys for students of James Monroe Elementary School in Madera and the Chowchilla Police Department’s Christmas toy drive to acquire and provide toys for Chowchilla’s less fortunate children. The partnership was coordinated through the efforts of Valley State Prison’s Community Resource Manager Carmen Maroney and completed through the diligent work of Toys for Tots representative Marine Staff Sgt. Steffon Hicklin.
“This is the 23rd year that the Monroe Christmas Committee has gathered toys for the students of Monroe. The teachers started this project with just two families and 10 kids. We are blessed to have the Valley State Prison and US Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots help bring new toys to Monroe’s children this year. Our community’s need has grown exponentially. This year the committee has selected 68 families which equals 190 children (ranging in age from infant to sixth grade). It was very difficult to whittle the list down, because of the extreme need our teachers are seeing in our families,” said Monroe Elementary School Principal Kimberly Bitter.
VSP staff donated an additional $250 to purchase of approximately 40 children’s coats which were donated to the Chowchilla Police Department for their holiday coat drive.
Chowchilla Police Chief Dave Riviere said, “I am truly amazed by the amount of support the local prisons give back to the City of Chowchilla and the local community. It is during the times of need that we have made the call and each and every time the call is answered in a big way. This year is no exception. The prison inmates have donated money for local programs, Christmas presents, blankets and honestly whatever we need, they have come through.”
Riviere thanked the Wardens, their staff as well as the inmates who are very committed to giving back to the community.
The VSP Chapter of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) also donated $150 to Toys for Tots of Madera in addition to three boxes of toys to Toys for Tots in Fresno. Staff was asked to participate in the prison’s own coat drive and responded with four barrels full of coats which were given to the local Salvation Army.
California State Prison, Sacramento
By Lt. Aaron Konrad, AA/Public Information Officer
and Therese Giannelli, Community Resource Manager
California State Prison, Sacramento (CSP-SAC) Community Resource Manager Therese Giannelli and Lt. Aaron Konrad recently delivered a check for $700 to the Twin Lakes Food Bank on behalf of CSP-SAC inmates in A Yard. This gift was raised through A-Yard food sales.
Twin Lakes Food Bank, based in Folsom, helps over 44,000 men, women and children throughout the year with the majority being children and senior citizens. The $700 represents 4,900 meals.
For more accounts of CDCR staff geneorsity, see “CDCR staff donates thousands of dollars, hundreds of bicycles, presents to kids.”