GREENCASTLE -- Putnamville Correctional Facility staff recently donated $2,554 and 1,021 food items to Indiana community organizations in support of First Lady Cheri Daniels' Hoosiers Helping Hoosiers Food Drive.
Putnamvile staff kicked off a food drive on the same day Hoosiers Helping Hoosiers commenced. The prison's month-long event was coordinated by Kelli Searing, Richard McDonald and Crystal Brown, who organized activities with incentives to promote staff and offender participation.
Staff who donated $20 "leased" the superintendent's parking space for a day, during which time the superintendent parked in the staff parking lot and rode the staff shuttle bus, and, for every week that 100 food items were donated, the superintendent and assistant superintendents, Phil Slavens and Brian Smith, waited tables for staff during lunch.
Perks were also received by offenders who were assigned to the housing unit, from which the most money was donated.
"I'm fortunate to work with staff and offenders who unselfishly respond to the needs of others and thank all who contributed to its success," said Superintendent Bruce Lemmon,
Brad Alspaugh, Searing and McDonald delivered 255 items of food and monetary donations of $638.50 each to four Indiana organizations -- the A-Way Home Shelter and Putnam County Food Pantry in Greencastle; Cunot Community and Senior Citizen Center in Poland and the Clay County Emergency Food Pantry in Brazil.
"It was a lot of work, but when we made the deliveries and saw the gratitude on their faces and heard how many hungry people depend on them for food we could only think of how thankful we were to be in a position to help," said Searing.
Norma Brown, director of the Clay County Emergency Food Pantry, told prison staff, "You don't know what this means to us. More and more people show up each day in need of food assistance."
Directors of each organization expressed their appreciation to Putnamville staff and the need for canned goods and additional food items.
Collectively, the four organizations provide food to almost 10,000 people per month.
A recent Indiana study reported that 1 in 10 Indiana families receive food assistance and that nearly half receiving the assistance are under the age of 18 or over 65.
The report, coupled with Hoosiers Helping Hoosiers, inspired Indiana Department of Corrections Commissioner Edwin G. Buss to promote similar food drives at each IDOC facility.
"As Hoosiers, we have a morale obligation to help those less fortunate; as mothers and fathers, we have a parental responsibility to feed our children; and, as state employees, we have committed to providing a service to our communities," said Buss.