A year to remember
GROWING up with a parent in prison means Christmas isn’t always a cheerful occasion.
But it is hoped this year will be one to remember for hundreds of inmates’ kids invited to a special celebration organised by the New Zealand Prison Fellowship and Onehunga Workingmen’s Club.
‘‘Having mum or dad in jail is having an effect on the kids and it’s not their fault. This day is just for them,’’ club manager Vicki Douglas says.
There are a number of children around Onehunga who have one or both parents in prison, she says.
‘‘We’re supporting the prison fellowship because they’re supporting these kids so they don’t go down the same path as their parents.’’
The event has been held for a number of years in Wellington and the Auckland event last year was an eye opener for Douglas with about 250 people turning up.
Many of the children were being cared for by grandparents or other family members and money seemed to be tight.
‘‘Last year we had two little boys come up to us and say it was the best day of their lives,’’ Douglas says.
Many of the children didn’t like people knowing that their parents are in prison, she says.
A number of Onehunga businesses made donations to help get the December 21 party off the ground.
‘‘Once it gets around, the generosity has been overwhelming,’’ Douglas says.
Prison Fellowship New Zealand is a Christian organisation founded in 1982 that works with prisoners, their families and victims.
The fellowship provides pastoral care for inmates, supports families and provides aftercare aimed at stopping the cycle of crime.
Christmas spirit: Onehunga Workingmen’s Club manager Vicki Douglas is looking forward to hosting a Christmas dinner for inmates’ families.