Church, jail officials work to bring cheer to inmates’ families
By Dwayne Bremer
Dec 20, 2013, 19:11
Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam, left, Kathy Larsen of Christ Episcopal Church, Santa Claus, and jail Warden Evan Hubbard provided a little Christmas cheer for children of the county jail's inmates on Friday. More than 40 children got to visit with their parents and receive a gift from Santa.
Officials at the Hancock County Sheriff's Office and Christ Episcopal Church on Friday provided a little holiday cheer for children of inmates at the Hancock County Jail.
About 40 children were allowed to have contact visits with their respective parents Friday and received presents from Santa Claus.
The inmate Christmas program was created by Jail Lt. Andrew Johnson and Kathryn Larsen of Christ Episcopal.
Friday's event was the third year in a row for the program.
"We have been doing an angel tree at the church for years," Larsen said. "Now that the county has a jail facility, we hope to continue it for years to come."
For the families of the inmates, it was a special day.
The jail does not normally allow contact visits--usually all visitation must be done via video conference.
Sheriff Ricky Adam said the event is meant for the children of those incarcerated.
"These kids have a hard enough life with their parents being locked up," Adam said. "This may give them a little bit of comfort during the holiday."
Inmates said they appreciated the sheriff and the church thinking of their children.
"It's a blessing," inmate Jackie Steele said. "It just goes to show you that even in jail, there is a God."
During the two-hour event, about two dozen inmates were allowed to visit with their families, have their children receive a gift, and even take a picture with Santa.
Jail Warden Evan Hubbard said that all inmates were eligible to register for the program and the inmates selected were done so at random according to how many presents were available.