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Holiday Toy Drive for Kids with Incarcerated Parents

Eastern State Penitentiary Kicks Off Holiday Season with Toy Drive Benefiting Children with Incarcerated Parents

November 27, 2017

-- Visitors donate toys and children’s books in exchange for “Buy One, Get One Free” admission to the historic site --

Eastern State Penitentiary celebrates this holiday season with a toy drive benefiting local children whose parents are incarcerated. From December 1 through December 24, anyone who donates a toy or children’s book at the historic site will be granted “Buy One, Get One Free” tour admission.

One in 28 American children has a parent behind bars. In Pennsylvania alone, there are approximately 81,096 children with a parent incarcerated in a Pennsylvania state prison. What are the holidays like for these families?

Eastern State Penitentiary partners with Institute for Community Justice, Why Not Prosper, the Philadelphia Department of Prisons, and the Center for Returning Citizens to collect gifts for local children with incarcerated parents. From December 1 through December 24, any Eastern State visitor who donates a new toy or children's book, in its original packaging (but please no gift wrap), will be granted a second admission free of charge.

Visitors may drop off donations even if they are not planning to take a tour. Items can also be purchased online and shipped directly to the penitentiary:

ATTN: Toy Drive
Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130

About Institute for Community Justice:
The mission of Institute for Community Justice, a program of Philadelphia FIGHT, is to serve any person impacted by mass incarceration by providing support services that empower those affected to thrive as their fullest selves. ICJ envisions a world free from mass incarceration where communities have equitable access to health, safety, justice, and the opportunity to design their freedom.

About Why Not Prosper:
Why Not Prosper helps women from prison systems discover their own strength by providing them with the support and resources that will empower them to become responsible, economically self-sufficient and contributing members of the community. Their programs help women find and retain employment, increase job skills, reunite with their children, abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs, find housing, and not return to prison.

About Philadelphia Department of Prisons:
The Philadelphia Department of Prisons works to provide a secure correctional environment that adequately detains persons accused or convicted of illegal acts; to provide programs, services, and supervision in a safe, lawful, clean, humane environment; and to prepare incarcerated persons for reentry into society in a frame of mind that will facilitate their becoming law-abiding citizens.

About the Center for Returning Citizens:
The Center for Returning Citizens (TCRC) assists returning citizens in the transition from incarceration to society by providing job training, housing assistance, counseling services, legal aid, and referrals. TCRC helps individuals, families and communities with the adverse impacts of incarceration. TCRC’s focus with Youth Outreach is to impact at-risk children, especially those who have parents that are incarcerated and may be heading down that very path. They have groups for teens, an after school Drop In Center for younger children (3rd to 8th grade), and individual counseling. It TCRC’s desire to nurture and provide a caring environment to assist parents in raising healthy, happy children.

About Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site:
Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone.

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The penitentiary is open seven days a week, year round. When purchasing online, admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students and children ages 7-12. When purchasing at the door, admission is $16, $14, and $12, respectively. (Not recommended for children under the age of seven.) Admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; Hands-On History interactive experiences; history exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

For more information and schedules, the public should call (215) 236-3300 or visit


2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner