Copy-Inmates crochet Christmas gifts for needy children

KYLE, TX (KXAN/CNN) – A group of inmates in Texas is giving back to the community by crocheting Christmas gifts for children in need.

Operation Stitch a Smile not only helps children but also the inmates at Kyle Correctional Center, who have all struggled with drugs at one point or another in the past.

The program gives each inmate a few short lessons on crocheting so they can handmake stuffed animals for kids in need.

The inmates have already donated 50 animals to the Blue Santa Program in Kyle, TX, and they say it's also changing their outlook on life.

"I really start reflecting on what I need to be doing and why I shouldn't be here and where I should be," one inmate said.

As a perk, after every 10 animals made by an inmate, they are able to keep one to send to a family member.

For some, like inmate Louis Wendell, it's the first Christmas gift besides a letter that they have been able to give in many years.

"I made my mom a stinky little bear about this size, and I stuffed him in a little box. It was a little tiny box, and I stuffed him in there and I sent it to her for Christmas. And I hope she gets it," Wendell said.

The inmates say every animal is made with love for local kids, one stitch at a time.

"I hope whoever does get these animals clings to them," an inmate said.

The crochet project will continue after Christmas, at which time the facility will donate the animals to other organizations.

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