Thursday, August 9, 2012

On prisoners' generosity

The wife of a prisoner gave me a challenging statement the other day.

She said: "I hear a lot about what HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS has done. But if I'm going to donate any money to your organization, I don't want to hear that. I want to hear WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO!"

And that started my thought processes. Maybe we're going about this fund-raising business in the wrong way. Perhaps we should offer new programs, new ideas, thoughts about what HFP will try to accomplish in the future. I won't argue that plans for the future are not only exciting, but they also are important.

There's a flip side, however.

It's also important for us to continue doing what we have been doing. And here's why.

As I write this, Marcia and I are in northern Michigan for a rare experience. We're vacationing for a few days with all of our children and all of our grand-children. This doesn't happen often, because two of our grand-kids live in Hawaii and two live in South Carolina.

But our vacation was made even more special yesterday with the arrival of a simple email message from Pen Pal. It informed us that HFP had received a donation of $1,000 cash from the Prison Benefit Fund at Kinross Correctional Facility in the U.P.
The PBF consists of profits from prison store sales. Prisoners have a say-so in how this money is to be used...for recreational purposes, etc. They may also give to charity.

The guys at Kinross got the idea from inmates of Michigan's women's facility in Ypsilanti, who earlier this year voted to donate $500 to HFP.

These people didn't decide to give money to us based on elaborate future plans. They like what we have done so far, and they're betting that we'll remain at their side if we can simply stay alive.

I cannot think of stronger praise.

I cannot think of a stronger mandate.

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