May God forgive us if we ever, even once, take the thanks of an incarcerated person for granted.
Our team happens to agree with Mother Teresa on this one:
Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.
I bring up the topic because HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS has already received two special gifts this year! A check for $500 arrived from the U.P. the other day. It was a donation from the Prisoner Benefit Fund of Chippewa Correctional Facility. A few days later a check for $50 came from Ralph Wallace, an 83-year-old lifer who resides in the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater.
I realize I’ve shared this before, but this passage from the Gospel of Luke bears repeating:
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
I don’t know all the details leading to a decision by the PBF Committee at Chippewa to donate money to HFP. But I do know that this is a huge compliment! Those dollars come from the prison store and prison vending machines and go into a special fund for the benefit of inmates. This committee, made up of prisoners and staff members, usually chooses things like microwaves and exercise equipment. Only if a charitable organization makes a strong impact is it considered for a contribution.
I’m not sure what prompted Mr. Wallace to make a New Year contribution of this magnitude to HFP. But I do know that one of our doctors helped him a lot with some eye issues. And I do know what kind of wages these guys make in their prison jobs: $1 - $3/day!
These are thanks not just to Matt and me…they represent a thanks to Susie, Melissa, and Holly…a thanks to every volunteer who helps in our office…a thanks to every director who serves our board with such dedication…a thanks to every doctor and every lawyer on our professional panel who so promptly and so graciously respond to in-prison problems.
And we’ll never take one of these contributions, one of these expressions of thanks, for granted.