Over 70 inmates participate in "Parents Sharing Books" - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Over 70 inmates participate in "Parents Sharing Books"


Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - For parents and children, alike being separated can make the holidays hard to take. But one local agency is helping people, behind bars, send a part of themselves home for the holidays.

Carly is preparing for another holiday without her children. "It breaks my heart. It breaks my heart. I can hear it in their voices, and I haven't been with them for the last three holidays. And, it absolutely breaks my heart."

WQOW News 18 withheld Carly's last name at the jail's request. She, along with over 70 other inmates in the Chippewa, Eau Claire and Dunn County jails, are participating in the 11th annual "Parents Sharing Books", a reading program hosted through Literacy Volunteers of the Chippewa Valley.

Louise Bentley, the corrections director for the Literacy Volunteers of the Chippewa Valley, said, "The parents are sending a little of themselves for the holidays by getting this book recorded in their own words, and then the child can have it as a gift from their parent."

Nearly 100 children, including Carly's three kids, will each receive a special delivery before Christmas.

Deputy Sheriff Tom Eder, for the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office, said, "Their children are really happy when they get something in the mail. Otherwise, they wouldn't get anything from their parent."

For Carly, it's another holiday away from her children. She hopes to change that next year.

Carly said, "It means a lot to me because my kids are able to hear my voice. It's emotional, but I'm glad that I'm doing it. I'm sad that I'm not going to be there with them, but I appreciate that I can at least do this for them. I miss them, and I love them very much, and I'm going to be home to them soon."

All books were donated by the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library and an honors English program at Chippewa Falls High School.

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