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Gifts collected for inmates’ kids

A Portsmouth woman is leading a drive to make sure the children of parents who are incarcerated this Christmas will still experience the joy of the holidays.

Quniana Futrell, the founder of Building Resilience in Communities Inc., started the outreach three years ago, informed by her own experience as a child.

“I was that kid who grew up having two parents who were incarcerated,” she said. “It’s something that hits home for me, and I know all too well the pains of parents being away.”

This year, Futrell sought out the names of 100 children with parents in Western Tidewater Regional Jail, in Suffolk, and Hampton Roads Regional Jail, in Portsmouth.

“We’re just looking to make sure the inmates’ children have a good Christmas,” she said.

Two days before Christmas, the children will be treated to a party where they will get to meet Santa, have brunch and find a gift under the tree with their name on it, labeled as from their parent who is incarcerated.

“That will be their gift from their parent to let them know they’re loved and not forgotten for the holidays,” Futrell said.

The outreach still is in need of donors and volunteers. People can donate a gift, donate money that will be used for the outreach or volunteer at the event.

The deadline to donate gifts is Dec. 18, which will allow several days for the gifts to be wrapped and tagged, Futrell said.

On the day of the event, it will be “all elves on deck” to make sure the event goes smoothly, Futrell said. Volunteers are in demand for the event, which will also feature motivational speakers.

Futrell, who leads a parenting class for mothers incarcerated at Western Tidewater Regional Jail, said she believes the event will help families who are dealing with the heartache of having someone not at home for the holidays.

“Nobody ever talks about the children,” she said. “It’s time for me to use my testimony.”

The event for the children will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 23 at the Churchland Library, 4934 High St. W.

Futrell said anyone who would like to volunteer, donate or get more information can email info@brcinc.org or call 598-4BRC.