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Making things merry, bright for area kids

Stephanie Snodgrass | The Brewton Standard Escambia County Detention Center inmates hang the dyed wooden cars to dry as part of their project to provide for needy children.

Stephanie Snodgrass | The Brewton Standard
Escambia County Detention Center inmates hang the dyed wooden cars to dry as part of their project to provide for needy children.

Inmates build toys for children

Inmates at the Escambia County Detention Center have worked to make Christmas a little brighter for area children.

Chief Deputy Mike Lambert said the men have worked over several weeks to construct wooden toy cars and trucks as compliment toys for the Brewton Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Angel program.

“This is a way for our guys to give back to the community,” Lambert said of the project that served as a good behavior reward for select inmates. “These guys come from our ‘honor dorm,’ and they all volunteered to work on this project.”

Lambert said one inmate created the pattern for the wooden truck, car and school bus. Next year, the group hopes to expand the selection with more patterns, he said.

The finished product.

The finished product.

The project’s initial goal of 1,000 was exceeded by more than 1,500 toys.

Corrections Officer John Klen said the project gave inmates a purpose, while C.O. Ray Farmer said it helped to put inmates in the Christmas spirit.

“Jail is jail, but this shows that if you work hard and do right, you can be rewarded,” Lambert said.

And not just with a trip outside to work in the woodshop, inmates said.

Oscar Powers of Atmore worked using food color to dye the toys.

“I’ve been in here eight months,” Powers said. “You go crazy when you sit inside, and I love being outside here. It makes me feel better – plus it’s a good feeling to know, at the end of the day, what we’re doing is for needy kids. That’s the best part of it.”