More than 50 years ago, inmates in Los Angeles County jails started a year-long work program guaranteed to spark the holiday spirit in needy children.
In two programs that continue today, inmates have been making dolls and carving wooden toys to be distributed to less fortunate children during the gift-giving season.
This holiday season, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will distribute more than 3,700 handcrafted dolls and wooden toys to children throughout the county.
“I am extremely proud of the men and women involved in this ongoing program,” said Sheriff Lee Baca. “Each year, the labors of the instructional staff and jail inmates brighten the lives of children within our communities by providing a gift that may be the only one the child receives at Christmastime.”
This year, using materials donated by local merchants and residents, inmates at the Century Regional Detention Facility handcrafted approximately
3,500 cloth dolls, and personnel from the Pitchess Detention Center South Facility created approximately 200 wooden cars, trucks, and helicopters.
“The personal satisfaction felt by those involved in the toy giveaway program is outweighed only by the joy they’re able to provide to these deserving children. The program is a blessing to the children and enables the inmates to use their time in a productive manner that benefits the community,” Baca continued. “To brighten the life of a child during the holidays is certainly one of the most rewarding feelings any of us can experience. After all, it is what the spirit of the holiday season is all about.”
Donations of materials, including wood, wood stain, yarn, cloth material or sewing thread, are always needed.
Please contact the Sheriff’s Department’s Vocational Shops if you are willing to help support this worthwhile program through the donation of wood, wood stain, yarn, cloth material or sewing thread. Doll materials should be directed to Sharon Nelson-Farmer at (323) 568-4601. Wooden toy materials should be directed to Sgt. Gerri McCorkle at (661) 295-8805.