Sheriff’s Department spreads Christmas cheer
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The children of inmates housed at the Pearl River County Correctional facility will soon become the happy beneficiaries of the “Chimney Drop.”
For the past seven years, jail administrator Julie Flowers and jail health insurance administrator David Kilgore have helped the families of those either transitioning back into society or currently incarcerated.
The “Chimney Drop” is a two-part collaboration. Kilgore garners support from corporate sponsors while Flowers collects donations from the facility’s correctional officers.
“We wanted to give back to the children,” Flowers said. “The children suffer and it’s not their fault.”
Kilgore relayed the story of a recently released inmate.
“She had not secured employment yet and all she could afford was one used toy for each of her children,” Kilgore said. “That’s what Christmas and this fundraiser is all about, the children.”
This year more than 55 families will benefit from the Sheriff Department’s “Chimney Drop.”
According to Flowers, each child will receive about three to four toys.
Powers and Kilgore both credits Sheriff David Allison’s leadership as the inspiration behind the toy drive.
“The sheriff has a lot of compassion for the inmates and their families,” Kilgore said. “This is the best organization I’ve worked for. It’s not only a blessing for us but for the families as well.”
Remaining toys are donated to needy families in the community, Flowers said. The department also contacts other agencies to find families in need.
During the holidays, church groups across the county donate food and other items to the inmates, Flowers said.
Kilgore said the donations afford the inmates a taste of home during the holidays.
“We would like to thank those organizations,” Flowers said. “Just because they are locked up doesn’t mean that we don’t care. They have to do the time which also means their family does as well.”
Allison said there are many children out there who have parents that can’t provide for their Christmas.
“I’m proud of Julie, David and the entire staff for giving their money and time to help those less fortunate,” Allison said. “They have a hard and demanding job and yet are still willing to give back to their community.”
Allison would like to wish the people of Pearl River County a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.