09/13/05 — Prison inmates find a way to get around red tape and help victims

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Prison inmates find a way to get around red tape and help victims

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on September 13, 2005 1:46 PM

Inmates at Wayne Correctional wanted to do something to help the Hurricane Katrina victims in Louisiana and Mississippi, but legal red tape prevents them from being able to send money directly to charitable organizations.

So Correctional Officer R.C. Thompson came up with an idea. While the Department of Corrections has rules against giving money, he decided he could buy some burgers and sell them to the inmates for lunch Monday.

So Thompson called McDonald's officials last week to find out how the inmates could help. The restaurant is sponsoring a two-for-one discount for non-profit organizations like the Red Cross. More than 250 inmates and staff members placed their orders for 284 Big Macs, which Thompson picked up Monday for lunch.

"We couldn't even take the money in advance for the hamburgers," he said. "We had to collect it when we took them the burgers."

Thompson picked up burgers from McDonald's on Wayne Memorial Drive for $1.10 each and sold them for $2 apiece.

The profit went into a $260 cashier's check for the American Red Cross. Thompson said the donation could be designated to go to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.