News Release: Prison Toy Lift Brings Christmas Cheer to Children of Inmates

Oct 30, 2018

With the holidays fast approaching, local families are preparing for the joy of Christmas Day. But there are some families in the metro that find it hard to get into the Christmas spirit. That’s where The Salvation Army’s Christmas Toy Lift steps in. 

For the past 25 years, this program has provided inmates at the Douglas County Correctional Center and the Douglas County Youth Center the chance to give their children a merry Christmas. What started as a program for approximately 600 children has now almost doubled in size. Last year 1,000 children received cards and gifts through the program.  

The program seeks to discreetly provide a service to those who are unable to support their family members due to incarceration. “If you’re in the Douglas County jail and you want to send your child a gift, this service makes it happen,” said Don Winkler, who coordinates the program. “The Christmas Toy Lift brings delight to children who otherwise would go without that special gift.” 

On Nov. 2, interviews with incarcerated parents, provided in English and Spanish, will be conducted by Salvation Army volunteers, officers and staff in order to assess the need. Children 18 years of age and younger who are direct descendants of incarcerated people are eligible for the program.

The Christmas Toy Lift is supported in part by donations to the Tree of Lights campaign.

Media Opportunity: Friday, Nov. 2, from 9-11 a.m.
Major Jeffrey Strickler will join staff member Winkler, Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary volunteers and inmates taking part in Christmas Toy Lift interviews. We have confirmed that this year media representatives will be permitted to conduct interviews inside the Douglas County Correctional Center, located at 710 S. 17th St. 


About The Salvation Army Tree of Lights Campaign
The Salvation Army Tree of Lights Campaign is a fundraising initiative for The Salvation Army’s Human Needs Fund, which supports programs that meet the needs of the most vulnerable people in the metro year-round. Our seven areas of service include food, housing, youth development, material assistance, behavioral health, older adult services and anti-human trafficking. The 2018 fundraising goal for The Salvation Army of Omaha is $2.85 million. Every cent of every dollar raised for the Tree of Lights Campaign stays in the metro. Whether you give to the red kettles or offer your time as a volunteer, your support helps in The Salvation Army’s effort to fight for good. 

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