Illinois inmates to receive care packages from church

BARRINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Thousands of inmates at prisons and jails across Illinois will receive care packages assembled by members of a Barrington church as part of its holiday program.

Parishioners filled brown paper sacks with mini-doughnuts, Christmas cards and religious books after the Sunday early service at Willow Creek Community Church. The Chicago Tribune reports that the church decided to expand the program last Christmas in an effort to send gifts to every prisoner in Illinois whose facility would allow it after members packed about 32,000 care packages.

About 70,000 care packages will be sent beginning this week to correctional facilities throughout the state. Federal prisoners aren’t allowed to receive them.

Pastor Bill Hybels hopes the gifts will inspire “hope and relief” for people who will spend Christmas alone in a cell.