Inmates at the Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehabilitation Center in New England begin asking weeks earlier, “Is Santa coming again this year?
Santa, with the assistance of the New England Lions, has been visiting the facility every year since it began operations. It’s a day the inmates look forward to.
The Lions collect donations from New England area business to buy candy and peanuts for the Christmas goodies sacks. The entire membership shows up to carefully fill them.
Hundreds of those sacks are given to children at the New England School Christmas program, and the inmates at the state women’s prison in New England.
It’s hard to say which group appreciates it more.
The inmates (127 of them this year) know full well they won’t get what they’d most like this Christmas. Santa won’t be able to give them the gift of being free and going home. But there’s no mistaking the smiles and appreciation expressed for caring enough to try to make their Christmas a little bit better.
It makes Christmas a little bit better for the Lions, as well. One of them said, “This is one of the most meaningful things we do.”
Each inmate is offered the chance to pose with Santa for a picture. They get two prints; one to keep, and one to send home to family. It must be good also for their families, to see the smiles on their faces.
It’s one more example of how such seemingly little things can mean so much.