Hurricane aid from Chesney
When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in September, many Americans were moved to aid the victims.
Few would expect inmates to contribute, but that's what the women at the Leo Chesney Community Correctional Facility in Live Oak did Friday.
Since September, they've made crafts to give to the Red Cross. At least 60 afghans, dolls and hats were donated along with a check for about $325 to the Three Rivers Chapter of the American Red Cross.
“I think it's amazing that they're doing this,” said Frances Gilmer, an instructor at the facility and the help and safety assistant for the Red Cross.
Inmate Lisa Veasey, now on parole, started the project by asking for donations from fellow inmates, then going to the staff for support.
“(The inmates) wanted to help and do their part,” said Jarred McQuarry, the facility's chief of security. “They wanted to do something positive for the relief effort.”
At least half of the facility's population was involved in the project.
“Every time I came in, I could see them knitting as fast as they could,” Gilmer said.
They used the money they made at the facility - about $20 a month - to purchase yarn.
The $325 donation came from inmates, their friends and family.
“It may not seem like much, but to someone only making $20 a month, that's a lot,” McQuarry said.
All the crafts and money will be redistributed to victims of the hurricane currently living in the Yuba-Sutter area.
A sign with handprints of the inmates responsible for the project was also donated to the Red Cross.
People have a certain notion about prisoners, and they wanted to change that, McQuarry said.
“(This project was) a way for them to feel they're contributing to the community,” he said. “It shows how the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation helps inmates come together and be productive.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Josh Kendrix can be reached at 749-4707. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.