New penitentiary program seeks donations

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WALLA WALLA — A program to give Washington State Penitentiary inmates a chance to give back to the community is seeking donations of bicycles, bicycle parts, fabric for quilting and sewing machines.

The Walla Walla Eagles Lodge will be collecting donations of those items between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. The collection will be at the Eagles Lodge, 350 S. Second Ave., in Walla Walla.

According to Shari Hall, penitentiary spokeswoman, the items are for the WSP Sustainable Products Lab, a new offender work program at the penitentiary.

Inmates in the program will be fixing up bicycles and giving them back to the Walla Walla Eagles Lodge for donation to local children. The repaired bicycles will also be given to the Walla Walla Community Center for Youth to help provide activities and programs for area youths.

“Utilizing donated sewing machines and fabric, the offenders are making quilts, Christmas stockings, stuffed animals, children’s sleeping bags, and more,” Hall said in a release. “These products will be given to area charities to be dispersed to those in need.”

The program is intended to give inmates “the opportunity to ‘give back’ to the community, teaches them valuable work skills and greatly reduce idleness at the institution, which improves staff, offender and visitor safety,” Hall said. “Programs like this have been proven to reduce recidivism in offenders.”

“Donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated,” she said..

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