They form a massive pile around the “mitten tree”–nearly 900 brightly wrapped gifts for needy Sacramento area kids. All were purchased by California Department of Corrections (CDC) employees as part of the Care for Our Children Holiday Campaign. Even the tree is filled with gifts of mittens, hats and socks to bring warmth to children’s holidays.
Employees select an “ornament” bearing the name, age, and Christmas wish of a needy child. Among the requests for toys or dolls are more urgent needs. Youngsters may only ask for a new coat or clothes. Mothers may request diapers for the new baby. Individuals choose which wish to grant. Office groups sometimes pool their resources if the need is great.
Corrections Victim Services staff organized the first event in 1994 in cooperation with the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Sacramento and Weinstocks. The effort grew from 150 participants that year to 882 this year. More than one-third of local Corrections staff members now participate.
Media are invited to visit Corrections’ “giving tree” Tuesday, December 16, at 9:30 a.m. The tree is located at CDC’s Victim Services Office, 1940 Alabama Road, Rancho Cordova, (the old Aerojet Offices). The coordinator of the Care for Our Children campaign will be available to answer questions about the program. For more information or directions, contact CDC Communications, (916) 445-4950.