Friday, May 1, 2015

Does it matter where the cry for help comes from?

This message to HFP was urgent!

A request for help from a prisoner…help for a friend of his, a 68-year-old Viet Nam vet whose lungs had been damaged by Agent Orange.  Here’s what he had to say about Mr. A:

          His skin reacting adversely to his mattress, cannot sleep
          Bunkies not treating him well for two reasons:
                   Convicted of a sex crime
                   Can’t stop coughing
          Situation so bad he believes he might not last the week.
HFP did what it does best, pushing buttons and pulling strings behind the scenes.

Six hours later:
            Prisoner A is doing OK and not complaining

           He has a new air mattress
                   Will get an allergy-free pad if any further skin problems
          He has a new Bunkie, and apparently he likes him.

          He seemed pleased for the assistance.

          He is in fairly good condition for his diagnosis.

Let me be clear, here.  We didn’t save a baby from the earthquake ruins in Nepal, we didn’t enlist the aid of volunteer pilots to fly rescue dogs to new adoption centers across the country, and we didn’t save any whales or owls.  There are already wonderful organizations and people doing those things.  But we did touch the life of a prisoner, in the name of Jesus.  And there’s no other organization like this in our state.  A cry for help, regardless of whether from the rubble of Nepal or the cell of a Michigan prison, is still a cry for help! 

At the very same time this was going on, Matt and I were scratching our heads, wondering how to meet HFP expenses.  As it turns out, we didn’t meet them.  And now we’re wondering about our future.

HFP began in 2001, the brain child of a wrongly convicted prisoner named Maurice Carter who, after all else failed in his 29 years behind bars, simple felt that he had no other alternative than to “leave it in God’s hands.”

Is that our last gasp today?

We know there are individuals, foundations, churches, religious and civic organizations, who claim to care about issues of prisoner compassion and injustice, and who could fund our tiny budget for one year and not even feel the pain.  But so far, we haven’t struck the right chord.  We can’t find the right combination.  There’s no glamour in this work, but behind the scenes there’s a father/son team aided by an amazing variety of 50 dedicated professionals, extending a cup of cool water to hundreds and hundreds of needy, lonely, hurting inmates.  Every day!  7 days a week!  All year long!

We need your help, your thoughts, your ideas, your prayers.

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