Self-help groups help others
Calipatria State Prison inmates in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Criminals & Gang Members Anonymous sponsored a fundraiser to benefit the local community. A special check-presentation ceremony in mid-June capped the project.
Those support groups sponsored local food businesses to sell food to the inmate population as part of a fundraiser. The proceeds were donated to various programs throughout the local community. Those programs assist people affected by cancer, victims of crime, educational programs, meals to the hungry and youth athletics.
The event benefits the local business owner, the local nonprofit organizations and the inmate population. The inmates assisted in organizing and distributing the pizzas. In all, the fundraiser accounted for $80,248 going back into the community.
“Giving back to the community gives the inmate’s population tremendous gratification to know that they are able to give back to society,” said Chief Deputy Warden M. Pollard.
Receiving donations are Imperial Valley Cancer Support Center, Cody’s Closet, Brawley Feed the Need, Bill Young Middle School Athletics, Calipatria High School Trust Fund, Little League, The Village at Brawley Union High School and Imperial Valley Shop with a Cop.
CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz was touring the institution and stopped his tour help pass out pizzas to the inmates.
Community Resources Manager Frances Hernandez said, “All the hard work was worth it. It is such a great feeling to know that we are able to help those agencies that rely on donations to help the less fortunate.”
Warden Warren L. Montgomery agreed.
“It’s important to give the inmates an ability to give back to the community as a path to redemption. This is a chance to humanize themselves,” he said.
The inmates appreciated the chance to help, therefore aiding their rehabilitation.
“A food sale is great. We get to eat something different and everyone is happy. Seeing where the money is going is just amazing,” inmate Sanchez said.
Beth Carson from Brawley Union High School was thankful for the donation.
“This is great, the funds will be used to buy shirts with the school label for students that are less fortunate. This gives them a sense of acceptance among their fellow students,” she said.
Another inmate summed up the event by saying, “I took enough from the community now it’s my turn to try and give some of it back. I am thankful for this opportunity.”