Ironwood State Prison (ISP) staff and leadership provided some merry holiday blessings on Dec. 19, as the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) employees delivered wish list gifts to kids at Felix J. Appleby Elementary School, as well as seniors at the Blythe Nursing Care Center.

With Santa Claus visiting Blythe to join in on the morning’s deliveries, ISP personnel visited the sites with smiles and heaps of ready Christmas-wrapped gifts to select kids and grateful seniors.

“We are (here) to give you some special gifts today on behalf of our employees at Ironwood State Prison; we look forward to doing this for you all every year,” stated ISP Community Resource Manager Carey Ochs to the kids in attendance before taking a group photo.

In February of 2008, ISP formally adopted Felix J. Appleby Elementary School and has since dedicated annual donations and support – including the holiday wish list staff gift donations.

“Every year ISP Community Resource Manager Carey Ochs and her team put together the gift donation tree for employees who wish to donate to choose an ornament with the name of a resident of Blythe Nursing Care Center or a student at Appleby Elementary School,” stated ISP Public Information Officer (PIO) Kelli Madsen following the 2018 delivery. “The generous employee receives a ‘wish list’ of the person they chose and tries to fulfill each requested item. This is one of the events that our managers look forward to most each year! It’s always nice to put a smile on someone’s face, especially during the holidays!”

With ISP Warden Neil McDowell in attendance, 42 select TK-8th grade kids were brought into and seated at the front lobby to meet with Santa – together in front of a collection of gifts.

From wish list clothes, electronics, and more, the grateful kids were all smiles while they opened their presents in the morning’s 2019 Pajama Day attire.

Notably, ISP staff not only purchased the designated kids’ gifts, but also provided presents for siblings at home.

Following the Appleby visit, the ISP community patrons visited the Blythe Nursing Care Center to deliver donated wish list gifts to seniors there as well.

Gathered in the center’s front living space, seniors were greeted by the ISP staff and Santa Claus – who walked the center room-to-room, providing each senior a hug and plenty of smiles in the spirit of the holidays.

All told, 45 seniors were provided gifts from ISP; from blankets to clothes and more, the seniors welcomed and received the holiday gifts warmly.


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