So my big 40th Birthday Gift-Away is 2 months around the corner and I am in planning mode. I recently emailed the director of an amazing prison ministry in my town called Doors of Hope to see what items they could use for the people they minister to. I was prompted to email in response to a portion of the newsletter that was in my in box on Monday morning:
"I have a question for you to consider: How are you starting your day? I started mine as usual at 5:00 a.m. with a great cup of (very) strong coffee, mellowed out with just the right amount of peppermint creamer, in my favorite cup, from the comfort of my office at home. If you had slept with your children in a car last night, with all your belongings crowded in around you¦ If you had been awakened in a shelter with dozens of other desperate people¦Or, if you were awakened by a guard this morning, to be released onto the streets of this city with nowhere to go¦ How would you go about preparing for your day if it had started in one of those ways? If there were no coffee brewing, no breakfast food, no money to buy it, no clean clothes in the closet, no hot shower, no job to rush off to¦no paycheck at the end of the week. The truth is, this is the case for more people than we want to imagine. Approximately 20% of the women and men we teach in the work center will be homeless upon release. Another 45%-55% will be released into an environment so desperately dysfunctional, most will relapse into old habits of alcohol abuse, drug addiction, or prostitution before the end of the week. In spite of their best intentions, many will fall back into the self-destructive lifestyle, and it will only be a matter of time before they are re-arrested and return to jail."
As I read the words my heart hurt for the men and women facing their morning so
very differently from how I face mine. We are all broken people who, at the end of the
day, need a fresh start. We all need to connect to hope. We all need tools to rebuild.
So, here are items I will be collecting for this ministry over the next 2 months:
day timer/calendar big enough to write on
wallet (new or gently used)
purse/shoulder bag (new or gently used)
small denomination gift cards (Subway, Sonic etc) for a first meal after release
And here is the website for Doors of Hope if you'd like to check them out: