Whitehorse inmates give back with pint sized stockings and elf hats

This holiday season, some of Whitehorse's youngest residents will be swaddled in Christmas stockings or adorned with tiny elf hats, thanks to the handiwork of some of the inmates at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

This holiday season, some of Whitehorse’s youngest residents will be swaddled in Christmas stockings or adorned with tiny elf hats, thanks to the handiwork of some of the inmates at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

This year, the inmates delivered 35 bunting bags in the shape of Christmas stockings to the Whitehorse General Hospital, to be given out to all the new December babies.

They also crocheted eight elf hats and five Santa hats for the little ones at the Teen Parent Centre.

Shannon Skookum, whose son Colton received one of the elf hats, said she was “very thankful” for the gift.

“We don’t have a lot of money, so anything is good for him.”

She said Colton, who’s about one and a half, also seems to like the hat.

“He wears it,” she said. “He doesn’t wear most other things on his head.”

This is the third year that inmates have taken on these Christmas projects, said Valerie Mosser, deputy superintendent of programs at the correctional centre. She said the projects help people to feel that they’re giving back.

“At times when you’re here at WCC, it may seem like you’re not a part of the community. This is like tying back to the community. And there’s a need for it.”

Mosser said the inmates make the bunting bags for the hospital every year. This year, one man sewed up the stockings, while four women designed fleece decals – snowmen and candy canes – for decoration.

But the little hats were a new idea this winter. “Every year we try to add one more contribution to someone,” Mosser explained.

She said the inmates get “a great sense of pride” from the projects.

Katherine Heinbigner, teacher director at the Teen Parent Centre, said the donations were a “win-win” for everyone.

“It’s really very generous and very kind,” she said. “(The parents) thought they were just great. They were so pleased.”

The centre currently has 13 students who are working toward high school graduation. It also offers a daycare for their children, who are all under the age of three.

Heinbigner said she plans to send photos of the babies wearing their hats to the correctional centre, so the artists can see how their work paid off.

But the hats and bunting bags aren’t the only contributions the inmates made this holiday season – they’re just the cutest ones.

The inmates also decided to donate $500 to buy dog food for the Many Rivers Outreach Van and supplies for the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter.

Mosser said the funds came from the money inmates spend at the canteen and the fees they pay to use the jail’s phone system.

With the $500, they bought everything on the animal shelter’s wish list, including rawhide, doggie bags, rubber gloves and laundry detergent.

They also assembled 400 brown paper bags, each containing two cups of dog food, for the Many Rivers Outreach Van.

Outreach Van coordinator Meg Grudeski said the van often gives out pet food, along with snacks and water for its clients.

“We have quite a lot of clients who have pets,” she said. “Everybody is going to share their bit of food with their pooch.”

In fact, she said, the inmates donated so much pet food that she had to pass on the excess to the animal shelter.

But she said all the food will get used, and she appreciated the donation.

“We try to partner with them as frequently as we can. They like to be able to give back.”

Contact Maura Forrest at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read