The Community Resource Council for the Sampson County Correctional Institute worked with additional volunteers to collect and cut over 215 cakes this year to spread holiday cheer to inmates at the prison. The group, which works in tandem with the prison as volunteers, also donated over 1,000 pieces of fried chicken from Piggly Wiggly to provide a special treat to the inmates.
Some of the cakes cut last Friday were homemade and donated from local churches, and some are purchased from local retailers, and the divide is usually half and half. This year Clinton High School’s Home Economics classes donated eight cakes, which came wrapped neatly with cellophane with toothpicks and marshmallow keeping the frosting from sticking to the plastic.
“This cake cutting has been going on for the last 15 years,” said Donna Williamson, assistant superintendent of programs at the facility off Northwest Boulevard.
“The cake cutting and dinner is spearheaded through local churches, and now a school has stepped in,” said Williamson. “Some of these cakes are done by ladies groups and donations are also taken up so cakes can be bought to ensure that we have enough.” This year a private donor also donated money in recognition of his father, said Williamson.
She stressed that with all the cakes collected this year each inmate likely would get three pieces, which would be a delightful treat. The inmates really look forward to this each year, especially those that are there for the long term. The Dec. 20 cake cutting, which included 215 cakes, exceeded the group’s goal of 200 cakes. The CRC group and the Program staff at Sampson Correctional served the cakes to the group during the dinner meal.
The members of the CRC Community Resource Council at Sampson Corectional Institution include Roscoe Howard, Leroy king, Charles (Chick) Gancer, Ernest Fryar, Milley Brewington, Walter Best, Thomas Sampson, Joseph Evans, Willie Bennett, and Louie Boykin.
Williamson said that the Sampson Correctional Institute relies on the CRC for support for inmate and staff events due to having a very tight budget for these type of events, and that the CRC provides a great service to the community that is incarcerated at the facility.
The CRC raises funds for projects not funded by the state. The chapel at the Sampson Correctional facility was built by community fund-raising, and the CRC has worked on renovations to the chapel. The CRC’s main goal is to positively impact those in the facility by making a positive link between those incarcerated and the local community.
“Sampson Correctional would like to give a big thank you to the CRC for their efforts in assisting with the inmate Christmas dinner,” said Williamson.
Since Christmas can be lonely for inmates who cannot be home for Christmas, the CRC takes this as an opportunity to let them know they are remembered in the community during the holidays.
The Gideons also donated pocket size Bibles to the inmate population, said Williamson.
CRC members say being able to help is as much gift to them as it is the inmates.
“I have been a member of CRC for two years,” says Milley Brewington. “It has been quite a humbling experience.” She says that many of these men have been found ‘guilty as charged’ and that is all the more reason that what the CRC does for these inmates is even more critical.
“We are doing what God is leading us to do so that we may bring hope into a dark world that has no hope,” says Brewington. “God has entrusted us to be His co-laborers and His stewards with this ministry.” For her this is about fulfillment — of going about the Father’s business.
“The men incarcerated at Sampson Correctional Center always look forward to their Christmas dinner,” she said. “This is the only time in the year that they receive food outside of the prison cafeteria. They are so appreciative.”
Brewington says that when they have completed their meal and are exiting the cafeteria, they will shake the hands of the volunteers and say, “God bless you all for thinking of us, this has meant so much to know that people do care about us.”
When she hears those words she thinks of the scripture in Matthew 25:40b; “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org