PHARSALIA – The inmates at Camp Pharsalia don’t forget they’re doing time in prison, former warden Jim Wilkinson says. With a small show of thanks this holiday season, a few members of the community don’t want them to forget their self-worth and value to society, either.
In appreciation for all the work the camp inmates do locally throughout the year – like paint churches, labor on road crews, clear flood plains and shore up old buildings – Wednesday a committee of area citizens held the 45th Annual Camp Pharsalia Christmas Party for the minimum security prisoners.
For their efforts, the approximately 160 camp men will receive a chicken dinner, citrus fruit provided by the Norwich Rotary and an assortment of homemade pies. Most of the funding for the party comes from community donations.
Why have a Christmas party for prisoners? Several of the roughly dozen Christmas party committee members say because these men, although incarcerated, are not past receiving compassion, and deserve a pat-on-the-back for what they accomplish outside the prison gates.
“In general they do a lot of good stuff and they continue to do a lot of good in our community,” said Christmas party volunteer Tom Taylor, a retired minister and former pastor of the Broad Street Methodist Church. “For me, showing care for people that are incarcerated is just a good thing to do.”