Officers' collect clothes for offenders' children

Three offices behind table with clothes
From left, PPOs John Lidgard, Tonya Shaw and Amanda Craig

There’s more to being a felony probation and parole officer in Idaho than catching offenders breaking the rules.

In Boise, a group of officers is helping the probationers and parolees they supervise by organizing a clothing drive for the offenders’ children.

John Lidgard, an officer at the Idaho Department of Correction’s District 4 probation and parole office, got the idea  while doing some spring cleaning a couple of years ago. He and his wife had a collection of children’s clothes they didn’t want to see go to waste, so they made the clothing available to offenders, many of whom were struggling to make ends meet.

“With cost of supervision increases, as well as various fines and restitution, I felt that some offenders might appreciate an extra resource for obtaining necessities for their families without having to qualify for it or waiting in line just to get it,” Lidgard says.   
The idea caught on and soon Lidgard’s colleagues were cleaning out their closets. Lidgard and three other probation and parole officers -- Tonya Shaw, Laila Jeffries and Amanda Craig -- now organize clothing drives four times a year just before the seasons change.

“We accept all kinds of kids’ clothes, from infant to about pre-teen,” Lidgard says.  “We appear to get a lot of activity with the infant and toddler items, but all sizes are helpful and we even accumulate some serviceable shoes as well.”
Lidgard and his colleagues are now collecting clothing for the 2015 spring clothing exchange. They’re accepting children’s pants, shirts shoes and other seasonal children items.  

If you’d like to make a donation, you can drop off your items any time at the District 4 probation and parole office at 10221 W. Emerald in Boise. 

The exchange will be held at the office on Friday, May 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The event is free. Anyone who needs children’s clothing is welcome to attend, but due for safety reasons, children cannot attend.

You can also drop off your donation at the Idaho Department of Correction’s central office in Boise, where a collection box has been set up.  

Aside from helping clothe disadvantaged children, Lidgard hopes the exchange will help strengthen the relationships between offenders and the probation and parole officers who supervise them. 

“The message I hope to make to the offenders we help is that we are all members of the same community and that Idaho Department of Correction staff and other donors are here to provide help where we can,” Lidgard says. “It also shows that we are compassionate human beings and not just an extension of the Court or the Parole Commission that only monitors their compliance.”

For more information you can contact Lidgard at jlidgard@idoc.idaho.gov or by calling 208-327-7008, ext. 228.

To learn more about dropping off a donation ati IDOC’s central office, contact Barbara Trolson at btrolson@idoc.idaho.gov

Story published: 03/24/2015
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