You don’t often hear stories in the news about prisoners ‘giving back’ to society from behind prison walls, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening all around the country.
Take Marco for example. He and his fellow Alcoholics Anonymous participants at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in California are contributing to meaningful causes while incarcerated.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to do this,” says Marco Galvan, prisoner and AA chairman. “Doing this is our way to make amends and give back.”
This group of prisoners pictured above held a fundraiser, selling food to other prisoners at Chuckawalla. With the funds they raised, they chose to help three local organizations: Blythe Travel Baseball, Blythe T.A.S.K. (Team of Advocates for Special-Needs Kids), and Bags of Love, which provides hygiene products and other necessities for children who are removed from their homes.
Palo Verde Valley Times reports that the prisoners chose these three local organizations to receive the money because the groups “helped the youth in a way that may discourage them from ending up in the same place they reside – prison.”
Two of the prisoners who participated in the fundraiser are currently studying in Prison Fellowship’s in-prison seminary-training program. These students, Manuel Dunn and Thomas Owen, and their fellow prisoners are looking past their current personal situations to how they can help the next generation in the outside community.
Another group of prisoners from Colorado held a basketball tournament fundraiser this past August. The Residential Drug Abuse Program at FCI Englewood organized the tournament, created fliers, and set up a donation booth in the cafeteria, where prisoners could contribute money from their personal accounts for charity. Though prisoners generally make pennies per hour at their in-prison jobs, they chose to share it with others rather than buying things for themselves. They raised $1,268.51!
Ten teams competed in the basketball tournament, and the winning team got the honor of choosing which organization the funds raised would go to. The winning team chose Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree® program! The prisoners at FCI Englewood know the heartache and risks their children face every day. That’s why they invested in Angel Tree, a program serving the children of prisoners at Christmastime and all year-round.
These two groups prisoners are powerful examples of redeemed individuals working to restore themselves to their families and communities. Their willingness to contribute financially to causes close to their hearts, like Angel Tree, demonstrates God’s great power to soften hearts and transform minds.