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Church sharing holiday cheer with annual cookie gifts to HCF inmates

Cheyenne Derksen
The Hutchinson News
Joye Miller ties ribbons on bags of cookies Wednesday night. Plainview Mennonite Church packaged 4,800 cookies and 1,200 Christmas cards for inmates at HCF.

Around Christmastime, it takes a village to prepare for the holiday — sometimes a church.

Plainview Mennonite Church is continuing its decades-long tradition of gifting cookies and Christmas cards to inmates at Hutchinson Correctional Facility. On Wednesday night, congregants gathered to package 4,800 cookies into gift bags.

“Normally we take them in and pass them out in the central unit,” said Lisa Miller, one of the organizers. “This year with COVID, the guards will.”

Each of the 1,200 bags includes four cookies — each a different kind — and a handmade card. Youth of the church colored the cards and the adults wrote messages inside.

“We get a lot of letters back from prisoners thanking us. Sometimes they don’t have a lot of interaction with family, so they look forward to it, especially this year,” said Orlin Miller.

The church purchases materials each year and partners with the HCF chaplain to bring in the gift bags.

“The chaplain told me that every day they’ve asked when the church is coming,” Orlin Miller laughed.

“We want to give them something that feels normal.”

Plainview Mennonite Church created 1,200 Christmas cards for inmates at HCF.