Hardin County jail accepting toy donations to make Christmas bri - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hardin County jail accepting toy donations to make Christmas brighter for children of inmates

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Christmas is not always a happy time for some. During the holidays, families separated by jail bars are reminded of the pain caused by their inability to celebrate together.

The Hardin County Detention Center is doing something about that.

In the past, criminals locked up for Christmas may have had no way to give their children. That would include Carl Wilson, who is in the midst of serving a nine-year sentence for trafficking pain pills. 

He has already served three-and-a-half years of that sentence. It is more time behind him, but it is also more time away from his 10-year-old son, Ashton.

"That's the hardest part," Wilson admits.

He is up for parole and crossing his fingers.

"Praying to go home for Christmas, for real," he said.

With prisoners like Wilson in mind, the Hardin County Detention Center is spreading some Christmas cheer the next best way: collecting gifts for inmates' children.

"When you see one of them walking out that front door crying, saying, 'I want my mommy or daddy to go home,' I don't care who you are, it touches you," said Jailer Danny Allen. "It's hard to take."

Allen says that, since last year's drive was such a success, they are doing it again.

"So many people that received bags said that may be only thing they get for Christmas," Allen said.

He may run a tight jail, but he says one little boy last year stole his heart.

"We give them suckers and some candy and stuff too and he got in my arm," Allen said. "The first thing he wanted to do -- he was probably a year-and-a-half old, wanted to kiss me on the cheek for that. He'd had sucker on his mouth and it got all over." 

Last year, the jail made over 500 gift bags for children.

"It sucks," Wilson said. "It's a lot of tension in there, because, you think, you've got a lot of male testosterone with family problems at home, nobody at home being able to see their kids. This gives a little bit of relief."

Allen does not think the kids should suffer for their parents' crime.

"It's kind of amazing when you hand them a bag and they go, 'Wow!'" Allen said, adding that he loves, "the smiles on their faces."

"It's the time of year you're supposed to giving, and those children deserve that," Allen added. "We want to give to them, we want to help them, we want to make their Christmas a little happier for them."

Wilson appreciates the program, and hopes to give his son the best gift of all: the chance for him to be home on parole.

"That's my Christmas present I'm hoping to give," Wilson said. "That would be the best."

You can drop off toys and donations until the Monday after Thanksgiving. Gifts will be passed out starting Dec. 16.

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