Inmates' children receive gifts from Casey youth group

December 19, 2003|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

The Kids Nite Group of Salem United Methodist Church made sure the 99 kids who have dads in the Casey County Detention Center got a Christmas gift this year.

The 14-member group, ranging in age from 1 to 17, got the children's names and a wish list from the state inmates at the detention center, then raised money so each child would get at last one gift. Some got more depending on the cost. The gifts also contain Christmas cards and brochures about the three churches involved in the project.

The endeavor began last year when 32 recipients were chosen for gifts from the church. The project was taken over by the youth group and grew because the Bethlehem and Atwood Chapel United Methodist churches pitched in a couple of hundred dollars and some gifts, said Sheila Bowmer, one of the helpers. The youth group also donated $150 to the gift fund.


After the money was gathered, the four oldest members, Greg Galloway, Mandy Galloway, Josh Hoskins and Tiffany Bowmer climbed into the church van and headed for Russell Springs to shop. They paired off in twos, took names and decided what to purchase for each child. They set a $8 limit on gifts.

"We had fun shopping," said Mandy Galloway. "We bought a pair of bootcut jeans, a mini skirt and shirt for one girl." Galloway said she liked to shop for someone rather than herself.

"You should have seen them (shopping)," said Bowmer. "They were so excited."

"We felt good to help the kids," said Danielle Pemberton, one of the younger children.

Then it was time to wrap the gifts, a task that took 12 hours.

The van that hauled the kids on the shopping spree was leased to the church for $1 for one year by Roger Carmicle. "We use the van for trips during the year," Bowmer said. Before that, they had no way to transport the group.

The children of inmates were not the only ones who received gifts.

"The church got a call by a person who needed food," said Greg Galloway. The group bought the food, then Galloway delivered the basket to the house.

"I really got blessed by that," he said. "I was happy to deliver the basket, and the person was glad to get it."

The kids sing as a group to raise money for the Christmas gifts and do other fund-raisers throughout the year.

The leaders are Debbie and Jackie Pemberton, Audrey Bernard, Jeanetta Collette and Nancy Wethington. Others help with refreshments and outings.

The group plans a project for its younger members later, said Sheila Bowmer. The younger members are Samantha Lee, twins Tyler and Taylor Pemberton, Alex Lee, Dillon Galloway, Callie Bernard, Kayla Russell, Kim Andrews, Allison Owens, Brooklyn and Macy Vaught, Jessie Allen and Kellie Martin.

They will host a birthday party for Jesus and present a play to the church during the season.

"Anyone, any age is welcome to join our group," said Bowmer. "We learn, have snacks and have fun. ... They are a really close group of kids."

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