Life is full of uncertainty for men and women who are released from prison. One of their most urgent needs is food. A reentry program with a food pantry can mean the difference between ex-prisoners going hungry or being adequately fed.
Coming out of prison, the ex-prisoner is faced with the task of starting over with nothing. Only now, he or she also has no job and no money. Although reentry ministry volunteers may help the ex-prisoner find housing, there will also be a huge need for basic household furnishings.
For volunteers who want to help ex-prisoners build a new life, being part of a team to start a clothes closet ministry might just be the perfect fit. This team would help get the closet going, volunteer time when available, and recruit other church members to assist in continuing the ministry.
Children of the incarcerated have committed no crime, but the penalty they pay for their parents’ crimes is steep. In many cases, they forfeit virtually everything that matters to them: their home, their friends, their safety, their public status, and personal self-image. Most damaging, however, is the loss of their parent, who may have been a law-breaker but was still the child’s primary source of comfort and affection.
When a person goes to prison, the whole family system suffers. It is normal for the family to cycle through a range of emotions and symptoms that include anxiety, depression, guilt, feeling lost or abandoned, anger or irritability, difficulty concentrating, poor attention span, and more.
Young or old, male or female – just about everyone gets a kick out of playing, watching, or cheering on a favorite sports team. Launching a sports outreach ministry in a prison can be a great way for churches and volunteers to participate in something fun, energizing, and relevant to all ages.
Those who attend to the spiritual well-being of others often need care themselves. Like Aaron and Hur who teamed together to hold up the tired arms of Moses, volunteers can help support chaplains as they facilitate various ministry programs in prison.