Prisoners Donate to Mitten Tree - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Prisoners Donate to Mitten Tree

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Waterbury, Vermont - December 17, 2008

Their hands are hard at work, pulling, looping and stitching to keep other hands warm this winter.

"It gave me instant gratification. It's always nice to be able to give back to the community. We're limited in the ways we can give back inside here," said Pam Yandow of Swanton.

Yandow and 16 other women who are doing time at the women's prison in Waterbury have been spending a lot of time crocheting hats, scarves, and mittens for the WCAX Mitten Tree. Thousands of these items, both handmade and store bought are donated each year and distributed to schools, daycare centers, and shelters throughout our region. So why do these women volunteer to help out?

"Before I came to prison I used to sign up for the needy families and stuff and we always got great gifts. So I could give back to something that I received myself and made me feel good," said Ellen Ducharme.

"Gratification, complete gratification. Knowing that children who are not, don't have anything are getting something and feeling warm," said Parnitzki

It's the giving season and they say it's time for them to give back. Their efforts are on display here at headquarters, the central office of the Vermont Human Services Agency. They're doing their part, along with the staff, to help Vermont's most vulnerable.

"The staff in particular that work right here at the central office get very revved about this, anticipatory. As to the women over at the facility, they start knitting I think in October specifically for this project as a way to give back," said Human Services Secretary Rob Hofmann.

But back at the women's prison, the pay back is a little different. It's a chance to say sorry.

"I know that just about every person here is sorry for what they have done and they hold it in their heart and they're not able to express it and this is a way to express it," said Yandrow.

You still have time to send in donations of new hats, mittens, scarves, even socks to us here at Channel 3. We are accepting donations until Christmas Eve. 

Channel 3 Mitten Tree, 30 Joy Drive, South Burlington, Vermont 05403

Bridget Barry Caswell - WCAX News

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