Are you looking for a way to give back during this Christmas season? Look no more — here is just the project for you, your church, sorority, club, fraternity or anyone interested in helping children of those in prison.
The children didn’t ask to come here, and they didn’t do anything wrong. Let’s not let them be punished unnecessarily because of the actions of a parent. It is amazing how a couple of toys can bring joy to the face of a child!
For the past 14 years, inmate reform and support group Women’s Wing has provided comprehensive transformational services, skills training, providing coaching, intervention and reentry services to current and formerly incarcerated persons, which has been the ultimate goal of the founder, Saymendy Lloyd. In addition to providing services to inmates, the group provides a wide-ranging of support for the children. Such services include empowerment services, life skills, coaching, mentoring, and love, which is needed so badly for children who are separated from their mother or father.
Each year, Women’s Wing hosts numerous events that help solidify the familial connection between incarcerated parents and their children. Their signature event is the “Tidings N Joy” winter holiday party, at which youth participants are offered a chance to engage in a warm environment with food, entertainment and fun-centered activities.
Over the past decade, Women’s Wing has served thousands of children and families to find joy during Christmas. This year they are preparing for an estimated 677 children of incarcerated parents alone. However, this group is facing a tough time with the rise in COVID-19 cases. Services to those incarcerated and their children will continue, though, regardless.
All volunteers will be following compliance and regulatory guidelines with the current CDC health and safety. The program will have two components — gift pickup, which was conducted from Dec. 11-20 by appointment only, and gift delivery, which started on Dec. 12, and continues through Christmas Day.
Two years ago, the community rallied around this support group after someone stole all of the toys. Lloyd said that while out gift shopping for the kids, she returned to her truck to drop off some purchases in the trunk, but found only wrapping paper inside where all of the gifts had been.
Thanks to Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie, the holiday party received hundreds of pleasant surprises in the days following the theft.
Community members from around D.C. donated dozens of bags filled with toys to the Women’s Wing after McDuffie held a donation drive outside of his office. Efforts to help out the holiday bash and support the children also came from crowdsourcing, where over $,3500 was raised on GoFundMe.
This is a project close to my heart. Scripture says in Matthew 19:14, “But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Proverbs 19:17 says, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
And Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Your tax-deductible contribution is needed in order to serve every child on the Women’s Wing wish list. Toys are needed (unused only, please), two per child. Gift cards of $20 or $25 are needed, as are volunteers to help us deliver gifts door to door. For more information, please call or text Saymendy Lloyd at 202-827-5117. At this column’s publication time, you will still have time to support this project.
Merry Christmas to all of you out there, and happy new year too. May God bless you and your family, friends and significant others with all of your dreams and desires.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.