Hundreds of young Iowa children whose mothers are in prison will still be able to experience some joy at Christmastime thanks to a program called the Toy Lift. Major Beth Petrie, of the Salvation Army’s central Iowa chapter, says they’re working with about 300 inmates at the state prison for women at Mitchellville.
Petrie says “I take sample toys out there. The moms pick a toy for each of their children and then they hand-write a little card that will be attached to their wrapped gift when it’s sent to their child. As far as they’re concerned, that gift comes from their mother.” Petrie says dozens of volunteers will work hundreds of hours this week to wrap all the gifts and attach the cards to the right boxes.
Petrie says “I can’t imagine being in the situation that these kids are in and feeling a sense of separation and having that be even more deeply felt during the Christmas season.” The toys will be shipped out the first week in December and she says it’s a heart-warming process for everyone involved.
Petrie says “It’s our hope that as we administer this program and wrap each gift and send each gift that when the child receives it, they’ll just feel a little sense of their mom being there, knowing that their mom is thinking about them during Christmas.” She says Iowans who are interested in helping the program to succeed should consider donating money at any red Salvation Army kettle this holiday season.