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Students deliver holiday compassion to inmates

Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 10:08 am

Sixth graders Cade Baker, left, and Jonathan Rollins pose Dec.19 with Corrections Officer Josh Yates before they hand deliver 225 Christmas cards to the inmates of Coffee County Jail. (Staff Photo by John Coffelt)

By John Coffelt,Staff Writer

Two Coffee County Middle School students shared the warmth of the holidays Wednesday with some who may otherwise be forgotten – inmates of the Coffee County Jail.

Sixth-graders Cade Baker and Jonathan Rollins collected loose change for calling cards and helped collect Christmas cards for the inmates.

Baker, the president of his class’ 4-H club, collected $50 with change jars and purchased 10 inmates $5 cards each so the inmates could call their families for the holidays. The 4-H club prepared over 275 Christmas cards.

Wednesday, the two teens hand delivered the Christmas cards to about 225 inmates at the jail.

Baker, the son of Deputy Director of Probations Linda Baker, said, “Society must be willing to be [the] change we want to see in others.”

The project really began when Baker asked his mother one day, “What happens to the people in jail at Christmas?”

“I go to school with kids whose mothers and fathers are in jail,” he said.

Baker feels that just because people have done wrong and are being punished for that, that they should still be allowed to talk to their families and not be forgotten around the holidays.

The students collected the calling card money and the Christmas cards as part of their Service Learning Project for 4-H.

Inmates are allowed to use the phones from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. by calling with funds on calling cards supplied by family or with money on their commissary account.

Baker’s mother, who accompanied the youths with a corrections officer through the jail, said that all of the inmates were very appreciative of the holiday sentiment.

“It’s amazing that a card could mean so much to someone,” she said.

Before the end of the day, two thank you notes from the men’s and women’s cells were brought to her office.