Party for inmates’ children brightens families’ day

Many people take for granted gathering with family at Christmas.

Not Tracy Inman of Omaha. On work release with six months left of a year-long sentence for theft by receiving, Inman received permission to attend CrossOver Prison Ministries’ Holiday Party Dec. 5 at First Christian Church in Omaha.

The party gave her an opportunity to play games and color pictures with her husband, Jimmy, son, Christian, and daughter, Katelyn, who recently moved and plan to join St. Cecilia Parish. She paused for a moment when asked how the evening was going.

"This is especially special to me because I get to have my family here," she said.

Organized for the families of inmates, the party included gifts for the children, a meal of spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and dessert, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, games and music.

About 50 people came, a mix of volunteers, inmates on work release, mothers, fathers and children.

The party is one of several prison ministries run by CrossOver, and Inman is familiar with another one – she receives letters from CrossOver volunteers while incarcerated at the Community Corrections Center in Omaha.

She enjoys receiving the correspondence, Inman said.

"It makes you feel there are people out there who care," she said. "You’re not just stuck in a cell somewhere alone."

Michelle Skala, a CrossOver volunteer from Lincoln, said she enjoys purchasing gifts for the event with her friend, Mike Lindgren, who is on CrossOver’s board and is the man behind the Santa hat and white, flowing beard.

"It think it’s really neat," Skala said. "We know how much it means to the kids, because we know one of their parents won’t be there for Christmas."

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