Sunday, April 1, 2012

A letter to Mr. Anon

Dear Mr. Anon,

This will acknowledge receipt of your 5 dollar bill, a monthly contribution that has arrived without fail for years. How I wish that we knew more about you and your whereabouts. The only thing we have is the Saginaw, Michigan, postmark. Your crisp currency is always folded between a sheet of lined paper, always enclosed in a small envelope, but never comes to us with a return address.

I'm assuming that you are a mister based on the penmanship. If you are a Ms., please forgive my error.

I just want you to know just how important your monthly gift is.

In the month of March, for example, the HFP office received 63 pleas for help from prisoners. That's way above average, but that's the way things have been going lately.

Among those 63 requests were 18 appeals from new Michigan prisoners for assistance, to which we actually not only reply but take action.

We had disappointments. One of our prisoners got involved in a fight, and seriously injured another inmate. And the mother of a prisoner, whom we had helped to make a visit to her ailing son, was seriouly injured en route when her car was struck by two kids texting as they drove.

But there were exciting moments. We helped a prisoner hoping for a parole this year to avoid returning to Detroit, and to get a new start here in western Michigan. And we testified on behalf of a terminally ill cancer patient at her public hearing. The Governor granted a commmutation of her sentence, and she went home.

Besides that, Mr. Anon, because you believe in us, we went the extra mile. We reached out to meet with a state legislator. We got involved in trying to establish a church denomination's new position on the death penalty. And the chairman of our board actually conducted two group sessions in prison on restorative justice.

Your money each month didn't go to cover administration costs, Mr. Anon. It went right straight to the front line.

Thank you.

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