NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- New Rochelle High School's Black Culture Club helped more than 100 children of parents who are serving time in prison receive gifts.
The project was the brainchild of Rachel Motley, a junior and a member of the club, who has a deep interest in criminal justice reform, according to a release from the City School District of New Rochelle. Motley wanted to work on a holiday project that combined Christmas cheer and the prison population, the release said.
So, when she learned about the Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree program, she knew it was the right choice.
The program helps meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the families of prisoners, especially children.
Motley reached out to Angel Tree and received the names of approximately 100 children who were in need of gifts for Christmas. She then approached the Black Culture Club for help in making the children's wish list a reality.
The Black Culture Club's outreach to the high school community received an overwhelming response, the release said. Teachers and students quickly divided the list among themselves, and soon the club began receiving shopping bag after shopping bag of gifts.
Some teachers shopped for children in multiple families, said Laurie Collins-Thomas, advisor to the club.
The gifts ranged from balls for different sports and board games to expensive items like a Fitbit and an American Girl doll. The recipients live across New York State, including Queens, Rochester, Buffalo and Elmira, as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine.