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Correctional Center Announces Local School Supply Drive

WI Staff | 8/19/2009, 9:07 a.m.

The Prince George€s County Correctional Center celebrates the 15th year of the Pencil Box Program on Tue, Aug. 25 by providing approximately 800 students at Glenridge Elementary in Landover Hills, Md. with school supplies for the upcoming school year. Correctional center officials will assemble at Glenridge Elementary on the second day of school to pass out grade-appropriate packets to each student in the school.

The Pencil Box program started in 1994 as a community outreach opportunity for the department to meet the needs of economically challenged students and families within the county. The agency decided that a school supply drive would be an excellent way of helping students get off to a productive start to the school year. The campaign starts in the beginning of June of each year and ends on the second day of school with the distribution of supplies.

The Pencil Box program is largely supported by generous donations from County entities and local businesses. The Prince George€s Correctional Officers Association (PGCOA) and the Prince George€s Community Federal Credit Union have been large donors for the past 15 years. Sponsoring local businesses also include: Target, Walmart, Office Depot, and Staples. The collaboration with other county agencies and local businesses ensures sustainability of the program.

€The support of our community partners has allowed the Department to expand the program to assist every child in attendance at Glenridge Elementary,€ said Interim Director Mary Lou McDonough.

Members of the Department of Corrections staff work tirelessly to facilitate the implementation of the Pencil Box program. Staff members often come in on weekends and give up their free time to assist with the preparation and assembly of packets. Typical packets include grade-appropriate: notebooks, pencils, sharpeners, rulers, protractors, pens, highlighters, erasers, folders, calculators, gift cards, etc.

Faith Mesenbourg, an employee in the Department of Corrections Human Resources Division, has been leading the Department€s efforts in this area. She is fondly known as €The pencil-box lady€ by many of the students at Glenridge who look forward to seeing her arrive with boxes of supplies.

€Without Faith€s inspiration and hard work we would never be able to meet our goal of helping so many students,€ McDonough said.

The Pencil Box program is still accepting contributions. Contact Mesenbourg at 301-952-7184 for details.