Inmates raising money for local charity - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Inmates raising money for local charity

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Chippewa Falls (WQOW)- "It's a chance to change," explains Randy Lord, an inmate from Osceola.

Behind the high walls and barbed wired fence at Chippewa Valley Correctional Treatment Facility, you'll find a very special project; one that's never happened before.  Inmates are working hard to donate money to charity; Jason's Presents to be exact.  They're hoping to give kids in need a very merry Christmas.

"My father passed away when I was younger and we had to depend on a lot of local charities and stuff like that over time so it's kind of nice to be on the other end of that," Lord remembers.

"My family actually growing up would usually do something every year.  And so this was a great opportunity for me to provide a positive service back to the community," says Tyler Bishop, an inmate from Denver.

"A lot of us have done a lot of damage to our communities and haven't really done a lot of stuff that was great in the past so it's nice to be able to show that even though we had problems back then, this is the person that we are now," points out Lord.

"I give to my family and my friends; people that are close to me.  I've never given to anybody I didn't know," states Paul Kaiser, an inmate from Milwaukee.

It's called the Glow Project.  Glow stands for giving lights to our world. Around 400 inmates are pooling money they earn while working in the correctional facility.

The goal was to raise $125 for Jason's Presents, but the inmates passed that on the first day. Now more than $600 has been raised and that may not sound like a lot but when you are only making 15 cents an hour, that's a pretty good number.

"There are different jobs here," explains Luis Roman, an inmate from Milwaukee.  "I'm a baker so I make just a little to get by and when I heard about this I was like, hey, cool, I will donate what I can."

"Now we are at about $613 and it's just unreal that we were able to get that kind of support within the prison," Lord exclaims.

"If someone did this for my family, my mom, or for my community, I would have loved it," Kaiser says.

"This is not who I used to be or why I am today but what I'm trying to do that's going to define me," says Roman proudly.

"So many people from all walks of life, all of us, contributing to the same cause is just an amazing experience," smiles Bishop.

On Tuesday, inmates will present a check to Jason's Presents, which is a program that provides gifts to families that cannot afford them during the holidays.

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