MT. PLEASANT — Students in the Mt. Pleasant Community School District will have no problems getting milk this year thanks to a donation from incarcerated men at the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility.
Monte Apel, an inmate at the facility, explained a small group was able to pool together $1,200 to donate to the school district’s lunch money program. They earned the money by recycling pop bottles and cans, making jewelry and dog collars. He said being able to donate the money to the kids was a special feeling and an activity he was glad to be part of.
“It’s the projects that keep us busy [and] most of us enjoy doing that,” he said.
Travis Norton, a fellow inmate, agreed, saying, “It’s the easiest way to keep us busy and out of trouble.”
John Henriksen, superintendent of schools for the Mt. Pleasant Community School District, said the money will be put to good use in the district. The milk program is separate from the free and reduced lunch program. With this donation, about 4,800 students will be able to enjoy a free carton of milk every day.
“It’s just fantastic,” he said.
Marcy Stroud, deputy warden with the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility, said as soon as the inmates presented her with the idea, she was on board. She said she felt like a lot of the inmates at the facility were so willing to participate because they could relate to being stigmatized as kids who could not afford things, like milk.
“We feel like there’s a real connection to us giving to the community,” she said.