(Sacramento) Ever since the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, there has been an outpouring of generosity by Americans to the relief efforts. The staff, inmates and wards of the California Department of Corrections and the California Youth Authority are no exception.
"Inmates in California’s prisons have pledged well over $50,000," said Edward S. Alameida, Jr., Director of the California Department of Corrections. "And that amount will probably go higher. Fundraising is still under way at several of our institutions, and we don’t have final totals yet."
Donations have ranged from the $15,000 raised by a candy and portrait sale by inmates at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla to $4.69 from an inmate at Wasco State Prison.
"The Warden asked why that amount," said John Katavich, a spokesman for Wasco. "We looked at his account, and that’s all he had."
Money isn’t the only thing that inmates are donating. At the California Institution for Women in Frontera, inmates made 41 quilts that will be donated to families in New York and Washington. Inmates in the upholstery shop at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in Blythe used scrap material to make booties for the search and rescue dogs in New York.
Wards and staff at the California Youth Authority have done their part, too.
"The Youth Authority family of employees, as well as the youthful offenders we supervise, have raised; more than $35,000—and the donations, fundraising sales and volunteer hours continue to grow," said Jerry L. Harper, Director of the California Youth Authority (CYA). "It is gratifying to see the sense of community spirit exhibited by employees and youthful offenders alike in the face of this tragic event."
Within the CYA, a majority of the $35,000 raised has been initiated by youthful offenders (wards and parolees) through restorative justice activities who have donated money from their trust funds, performed various fundraisers, such as car washes, as well as selling coffee mugs with flags on them, and charging for events such as movies and special meals within the institutions. CYA staff, as well as staff from the California Department of Forestry, have made generous donations to these specific fundraising efforts, and as well as to a trust fund at the Golden One Credit Union that has raised more than $337,000 statewide from all state employees.
Staff at the California Department of Corrections and the California Youth Authority are aggressively raising money for relief efforts in other ways as well. In addition to individual donations, staff at the California Correctional Center and High Desert State Prison in Susanville participated with local law enforcement in a spaghetti feed that raised more than $10,000. Many institutions have participated in or are planning other fundraising events.
A hastily organized, two-day bake sale and fundraiser by workers in the California Department of Corrections headquarters in Sacramento netted $3,700.
So far, CDC staff have raised well over $50,000. That does not include some donations from employees have made through their individual credit unions or directly to relief organizations.