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Inmates Help Give the Homeless Thanksgiving Dinner

"All of us that are here, have taken from the community in one way or another, so it's nice to give something back," said Bowie, an inmate who's worked at MCE’s Meat Plant for four years.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. - We're still more than a week from Thanksgiving, but inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown were prepping turkeys for a big Thanksgiving dinner all for charity.

Bea Gaddy, founder of the Patterson Park Emergency Food Center, collected food back in 1981 to pass out to her neighbors. She started with the money she won from the state lottery; $250 and fed people on Thanksgiving.

Bea Gaddy's “Thanks for Giving” Campaign has been a part of the Maryland Correctional Institutions for more than 25 years, and here in Hagerstown inmates like James Bowie get a chance to help out.

"All of us that are here, have taken from the community in one way or another, so it's nice to give something back," said Bowie, an inmate who has worked at MCE’s Meat Plant for four years, and has also helped with the turkeys for the same amount of time.

Maryland Correctional Enterprises, or MCE, is donating their labor and packaging. They’re sending about 400 turkeys to Baltimore. Inmates spent the morning prepping the main course of the Thanksgiving feast, the turkey.

"We cut it up, we smoke it in the smoke house in the back, they freeze it and then they box them up and ship them out," said Tyrone Arrington, inmate at MCI-H. He’s been working for “Thanks for Giving” for two years.

"Thanksgiving meals for somebody less fortunate who might not have one this year, so it's always nice to know you're giving something to somebody who wouldn't otherwise have it," said James Bowie.

And giving to those who have less is the whole concept behind Bea Gaddy's campaign.

"I'm from East Baltimore, the same area that Bea Gaddy started this charity, so I know a lot of homeless people that go down there to get free meals. So it's a way for me to give back, help out," said Tyrone Arrington.

And Tyrone said giving back in honor of Bea Gaddy is just another way to say, ‘happy holidays’.

The Maryland Correctional Enterprises helps provide structured employment and training activities for inmates, like at the Meat Plant where Thanksgiving turkeys are prepared.

Inmates who participate in MCE also have lower rates of reentering the prisons.
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