Kids with incarcerated parents receive extra love during holiday toy drive

The 3rd Annual Holiday Toy Drive is a reminder for all that all children are created equal.
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 5:43 PM EST
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GENESEE CO., Mich. (WNEM) - The 3rd Annual Holiday Toy Drive, hosted by Genesee County ambassadors and Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson, is a reminder for all that all children are created equal.

“We want to make sure every kid has the ability to get a gift from their parents, whether they’re incarcerated or they are in their home,” Captain David Kennamer said.

Children whose parents are incarcerated are often more likely to experience poverty as well, which is why one ambassador, Percy Glover, said it is especially important they feel loved around this time of year.

“A lot of times, as children, we mimic the attitudes and behavior of the parents. So, ironically and unfortunately, when parents are dealing with arrests, jail, and prison kids follow their footsteps. So we want to be those angels that curb the behavior early on,” Glover said.

The toy drive is for children of the detainees in the Genesee County Jail. Johnell Allen’Bey spoke from personal experience, he said that when he was incarcerated it was important for him to give gifts to his children every year so that they didn’t feel excluded.

“I can remember every year, my children, and how special it was for them to receive something from their dad. And knowing that I hadn’t forgotten them and that they’re included in the process with other children who were receiving something, they can say I got this from my dad,” Allen’Bey said.

Gifts and memories, he said, they never forgot.

For the drive, no taxpayer money is used. Gifts are 100 percent donated.

“When these children come into the lobby and they receive these gifts, you know the look on their faces, you know, that’s priceless,” Allen’Bey said.

The toy drive runs through Tuesday, Dec. 20.