MNCCC inmates help feed local kids

 The Mid North Coast Correctional Centre at Aldavilla. "It feels good to give food to a child who’s hungry over the holiday season,”one inmate said.
The Mid North Coast Correctional Centre at Aldavilla. "It feels good to give food to a child who’s hungry over the holiday season,”one inmate said.

Inmates at the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre have donated food packages to help local kids in need as part of a Christmas charity initiative in partnership with No Kid Hungry Au.

He was one of those kids who went without food and he knows what it feels like.

At a ceremony held yesterday, 7 December, prison inmates donated their breakfast packs and other food items to the No Kid Hungry Au charity which operates out of Kempsey and works to feed thousands of children along the Mid North Coast.

The jail’s chaplain James Deaton, said it has become an important event for the inmates.

“They were jumping to give. It really means a lot to them. One inmate told me that he gave to the charity because he was one of those kids who went without food and he knows what it feels like,” Mr Deaton said.

“For others, there is a sense of guilt that their kids are doing it tough without them to provide. It’s a way of doing something good, to have some responsibility in giving back to society whether it directly impacts their family or not.”

An inmate who helped organise the initiative said it was a positive experience for those involved.

“This food drive really picked up our spirits. Over Christmas lots of families struggle with expenses. It feels good to give food to a child who’s hungry over the holiday season,” he said.

Mr Deaton said that while the charity drive benefits the community it also has psychological benefits for the inmates.

“To to be able to show kindness is important for any human being, but especially in prison, where it can be seen as a weakness.”

The No Kid Hungry Au charity gives care packages to up to 200 needy families weekly and provides food to schools for 900 meals weekly through breakfast clubs for children who are not fed breakfast at home.

In total, the charity feeds around 19,750 people. No Kid Hungry Au runs solely off the back of food donated by generous local businesses and a hard-working group of volunteers.

The crew gather at the Kempsey Showground hall every week to sort out the healthy meal packs, which are are then picked up by schools and other community organisations to feed local kids.