Inmates Wrap Toys for Needy Kids

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POSTED: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 4:08pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 - 9:10am

They’re used to wrapping nearly 1,000 presents. This year however, they'll be wrapping only half of that after the Cameron County Sheriff's Department only received about 500 toys this year.

"Times are difficult. Some people don't even have a job."

But nonetheless, 500 toys are better than no toys. And to help with this good deed, four inmates volunteered with the wrapping. They’re wrapping anything from dolls, stuffed animals, to soccer balls, footballs, markers and crayons.

"It’s something that while we're still in here we can still give back to the community."

23-year-old, Jackie Garza, has spent a month behind bars. She has another month to go. She won't be able to spend the holidays with her little one, her three-year-old daughter.

"How I wish I could be with her."

And this mom isn't the only one spending the holidays in jail. While her four children spend the holidays with other relatives, 47-year-old, Maria Martinez, will spend it alone, behind bars.

"Triste, muy triste. muy duro estar aqui sin ellos."

That's why wrapping these presents for needy kids in the county helps her lift her spirits and think about those kids who may not be getting anything this season if it weren't for the local officials.

"It gives us an opportunity to go ahead and become really, very much involved in the community. We want the children to know that the law enforcement is their friend and they'll see the law enforcement officer in uniform, you know, from a different perspective."

This holiday campaign began 13 years ago. Deputies collect these toys from various drop-off sites and bring them back to the sheriff's department where female inmates, chosen for good behavior, wrap them.

Sheriff, Omar Lucio, along with Santa Claus, will go to several colonias, bringing cheer and toys to hundreds of little one Wednesday morning.

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