Prison staff help local children

Saturday, December 24, 2011

REELSVILLE -- Students at Reelsville Elementary and their siblings may have a happier Christmas this year thanks to Putnamville Correctional Facility (PCF) staff members.

Dozens of employees selected names of children from a Christmas tree located in the facility's administration building. Appropriately named the "Angel Tree," the names of Reelsville students and their siblings are hung on the tree along with each child's Christmas wish list. And as the month of November disappeared, so did the names.

But as the tree is emptied, another area of the facility became filled with brightly colored packages wrapped with images of Santa, snowmen and Christmas trees.

"Staff members are really excited when they bring the gifts in," PCF event coordinator Tonya Morris said. "I think, like me, they are just imagining the smiles on the kids faces when they open them."

Once all the gifts were collected, vehicles were loaded and PCF staff members delivered the packages to the Washington Township school.

The event, seemingly growing larger each year, also had its bittersweet moments, Morris said.

You think of children asking Santa for dolls and trucks but instead, this year many were asking for clothes and necessities.

"Many of our staff are experiencing financial hardships themselves, but it hasn't hindered their spirit of giving," Putnamville Supt. Stanley Knight said. "'Tis the season of giving, and I'm very proud of the example set by Putnamville employees."

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