by Stephen Baratta
This year we will be doing something different for our Adopt-a-Family program at Christmas. Steve Baratta and Nanson Serrianne (thanks to Nanson for taking this project on alone for so many years) will be working in conjunction with Will Aitcheson and Diane Collins from the Social Action Committee, and the theme will be a “holiday outreach program”. We will be collecting supplies to put into packages for inmates who have no relatives or friends on the outside. The prison we will be focusing on is the NYS Washington County Correctional Facility. We will also be asking folks if they would like to buy a book to donate to the prison library. This is no small undertaking, because of the rules and regulations from NYS Dept. of Corrections and each individual facility. The 4 of us (and anyone who wants to help) will be putting collected items into individual packages and they will be brought to the prison. Any items you buy have to be in the original package as sold by the manufacturer. You can buy different types of items if you want but each one must remain in the original packaging. To do the books, the regulations require that they be ordered from specific online retailers (we don’t know which ones yet) and sent directly to the prison. Therefore, if you would like to donate a book or books please put a monetary contribution for the cost of the book (plus approximate shipping) into the donation box by the Christmas tree in the foyer and we will see to it that the books get to the prison. Once again anything donated on the list must be new and in original manufacturers packaging.
The categories of what can be included for a package are: food, toiletries, clothing, checkers and chess sets and art supplies. Once again being cognizant of where these items are going I may have to further refine some of the categories as information becomes available (i.e. color and type of clothing, can they receive razors and if so what type, pens, pencils, or other sharp implements). We would not be able to make this happen without the expertise and time that Will is dedicating.
So in closing look for the Christmas tree in the foyer and we will keep an inventory of what we get and update what’s needed so we can try to get everything covered for some packages and hopefully get some books into the library prison. Thanks also to Nanson and Diane and the Social Justice committee which has decided that one area of focus this year will be restorative justice (prison reform work). Happy holidays to all.