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story.lead_photo.caption Todd Shalz, at left, accepts school supplies from Eileen Pierson and her co-workers as they deliver the items to Callaway Hills Elementary School where Shalz is principal. Pierson is president of DOC's Personnel Club and organized the opportunity for her and fellow staffers to help others. She and other staffers from the club at Department of Corrections, which also includes staff of Probation and Parole, collected funds dedicated to purchasing school supplies for elementary school students. Along with the supplies purchased with the monetary donations, employees brought items individually to add to the stack to take to the Jefferson City Public Schools elementary school. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

A group of Missouri Department of Corrections employees Monday morning made a special back-to-school delivery to Callaway Hills Elementary School.

"We went shopping over the weekend," said Eileen Pierson, who is president of the personnel club of the DOC's central and parole and probation offices.

Pierson was among about a half-dozen DOC employees who came to Callaway Hills with school supplies the club had collected or bought using money donated to the club — school supplies included folders, notebooks, children's books, cleaning supplies, pencils, pens, boxes of tissues and backpacks.

Callaway Hills is having an open house event 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday. Principal Todd Shalz said the donated supplies would be sorted, and there would probably be some available at the open house for families in need.

"We had originally thought (about) Thorpe Gordon," Pierson said, given this summer's tornado that hit the school and neighborhood around it, but she said Amy Berendzen — Jefferson City Public Schools' director of community relations — recommended Callaway Hills.

Berendzen later said Thorpe Gordon had received a lot of interest from community partners. After people wanting to give were directed to Thorpe Gordon, the district then looked at other buildings' needs, with Callaway Hills near the top of the list.

As far as she knew, Monday was the first time JCPS had been a recipient of the efforts of a DOC group, Berendzen said.

Pierson said none of the DOC employees at Callaway Hills had previously done an activity such as Monday's. She said personnel club members are usually nominated each year, but no members stayed on from last year, so everyone present had volunteered to be in the club.

"We're kind of winging it," Pierson said, adding the club has been planning more community events such as Monday's — including a Christmas event that's usually for children of incarcerated offenders.

DOC personnel clubs serve "to promote the well-being and camaraderie of the workforce. Employees are encouraged to join and participate at their leisure," according to a DOC employee handbook.

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