Decatur residents give jail inmates a special Thanksgiving

Updated: Nov. 24, 2016 at 6:35 PM CST
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DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - One segment of the population that's often overlooked at Thanksgiving is local jail inmates. But a church in Decatur has stepped up for the last 15 years to make sure local inmates get a good meal and spiritual guidance.

Austinville United Methodist Church did a lot of prep work to make certain their special guests were treated well. Those guests are local prisoners and trustees at the Morgan County Jail.

"Every Year you do see that it touches some of the guys that are in custody," said administrative Sgt. Danny Kelso

Kelso said those inmates have done something to be put in jail and are looking to get "back on the right track."

"These guys that are all here, they've went to church programs in the jail and they've graduated from some kind of program offered in jail. They do it voluntarily and a lot of it is faith-based," he said.

This is a big project for the community every year. A lot of Decatur children are learning the lesson of giving back at an early age. They do that by creating placemats for the prisoners' food.

The trustees realize some families are making sacrifices to be here for them.

"It is appreciated because you know they got their families too that they could be with," said Decatur resident Timotheus Mason. "I guess that God put it in their heart to help us. You know what I'm saying? To see a good holiday. So it's really good and I ask God to bless the people that do that."

"It's an awesome feeling. It feels good to be around other families because I'm not with my family, and it's been a while since I've been with my family," said Brian Reed, also of Decatur. "It's been a few Thanksgivings and I'm pretty grateful to Kelso and (Sheriff) Ana Franklin would allow this so it just feels good inside."

"It feels good right now because a lot of our families have done given up on us, and right now I feel grateful for them to do it for us," said Decatur resident Stevlon Tucker.

Those grateful hearts and bellies are filled now with the spirit of sharing and hope for the future.

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